John Lewis has become the first UK retailer to remove gendered labels from their children’s clothing range.
Not only has the company ditched ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ clothing, it has also abandoned separate sections in their shops, merging the children’s section into one large, all-inclusive department called ‘Boys & Girls’.
John Lewis has announced that school uniform is the only type of children’s clothing that shall remain gendered for now, but this will change in the future.
The John Lewis website still features boy and girl sections, but this is under review and likely to change with the shops in the near future, reports the Daily Mail.
The head of childrenswear at John Lewis, Caroline Bettis said: “We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections, and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customer so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
The retail giant will also launch a new unisex line of clothing, with dinosaur-print dresses and spaceship shirts.
The decision has spouted some emotional testimony online, and left a gaping Twitter divide, with people both supporting and opposing the idea.
John Lewis going gender neutral on children's clothes is fucking brilliant. Can't wait till all shops carry no gender label
— Rata (@alex_rata) September 2, 2017
Baffled that anyone could be upset over John Lewis making their kids clothes gender neutral. Boys can like pink & girls can like dinosaurs!
— Ellen Dark (@Ellen_Dark) September 4, 2017
John Lewis making their clothes gender neutral is such a great idea!
— Shelby (@ItsShelbyMariee) September 4, 2017
This is wicked beyond comprehension and I plan to write a letter and never walk through their doors again, even… https://t.co/EcYQ75KvYA
— Fr Jeffrey Steel (@Jeffsfollowings) September 2, 2017
John Lewis pandering to the mentally Ill. There are two genders, male and female. https://t.co/onIzXbs78K
— Matt (@mtavp) September 2, 2017
John Lewis's introduction of 'gender neutral' kids clothes is a worrying sign of the times. Expect mental health issues to rocket. pic.twitter.com/cP3ayQCwd7
— Rob Howland (@HowlandRobin) September 2, 2017
Critics, such as Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, have accused John Lewis of taking political correctness too far and pandering to campaigners.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “I have no idea what would possess John Lewis to do this.”
Before making the changes, John Lewis consulted with campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes.
A representative said: “It’s fantastic news and we hope other shops and online retailers will now move in the same direction… Higher-end, independent clothing retailers have been more pro-active at creating gender-neutral collections, but we hope unisex ranges will filter down to all price points.”
Many clothing stores still produce gendered slogans on children’s clothing. Gap, for example, came under fire for referring to girls as “social butterflies” and boys as “little scholars” in a children’s clothing advert
There have been multiple campaigns persuading childrens’ clothing and toy companies to remove the stereotypes of boys as being strong and clever, with girls passive and pretty.
John Lewis’ new genderless range is a step in the right direction, and hopefully we can expect other large clothing brands to follow suit.
Words by Stewart Wallis