Many newspapers last weekend reported that John Lewis had made the decision to end separate clothing lines for boys and girls. It was covered that this was was in response to gender stereotyping campaigners. The store has become the first High Street retailer to adopt a single clothing line, this allows greater choice for parents who are not tied into specific gender lines when purchasing for childrens.
Caroline Bettis, head of childrenswear at John Lewis, 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 customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
Let Toys Be Toys, the campaign for gender-neutral toys, added: “To us, this is a simple, common sense move, helping parents and children to freely pick the clothes they like best.”
The strange thing about this is that this is actually the result of a change which John Lewis enacted 18 months ago. We are unsure of why this seemed to be picked up this weekend but it seemed like a good time to recover it as we didn’t exist 18 months ago.
We spoke to John Lewis about this who told us:
“We’re surprised by the reaction these changes have received this weekend because they were introduced over a year ago.”
“At the beginning of 2016 we introduced non-gender specific labels in our own brand children’s clothing, and this was followed by the removal of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ signage in our shops which was replaced with photos of children modelling our clothes. In our shops, girls and boys clothing are still positioned in the same way as they have always been and online customers can search by ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ if they choose to. “As our customers would expect we’re still selling a wide variety of children’s clothing including traditional clothing for girls and boys. We haven’t made any changes to our website but continually review how we display products online to make searching as easy as possible. “We want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers so that parents or children can choose what they would like to wear.”