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Parents' genius solution for frustrating problem with kids clothes

The days of gendered children's clothing in department stores like Kmart, Big W and Target could soon be over, with parents indicating their desire for more unisex colours, messaging and graphics for their kids.

Melbourne parents Mel and Scott Stuart have experienced first hand how stereotyped kids clothing in major retailers can send harmful messages to children, including their eight-year-old son.

children clothes
Is it time for more unisex colours, messaging and graphics for children's clothing? Photo: Getty (FabrikaCr via Getty Images)

The father and son pair went viral last year when they both dressed up in an Elsa dress for a movie theatre screening of Disney's Frozen 2.

"My son really fell in love with Elsa when he was three, and really got into things like dresses, but he's also someone who loves shirts and shorts," Scott tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

"Every time we go to clothing stores, he is always moving over to the girls section because he says 'the clothing is so much more colourful' and 'why do I just have to have the blues and browns?'"

For about five years, Scott's son, whose name his parents wanted to keep private, had been wanting to wear more colourful clothes.

father and son both dressed up in an Elsa dress
Father and son dressed as Elsa went viral last year. Photo: Facebook

Following the viral video, Mel and Scott began getting contacted by parents expressing they too had struggled to find clothing for their children that wasn't overly tarnished with gendered stereotypes.

"It was a universal issue where parents said their boys wanted more colour and parents of girls wanted more empowering clothes that weren't just princesses and unicorns," Scott tells us.


Fed up at the lack of an available solution, the couple took matters into their own hands and established True You Kids - a gender neutral clothing brand specifically for children.

Scott and Mel Stuart founded TrueYouKids
Scott and Mel Stuart became fed up at a lack of colourful unisex kids clothing, so started their own brand. Source: Instagram/TrueYouKids

"We just wanted to make sure there was a clothing brand out there that was a bit more gender neutral and provided a lot more opportunities for both boys and girls," Scott said.

"We finally decided, 'you know what, we're just going to do something about it'."

They noticed existing gender neutral brands had made clothes in colours like beige and yellow, and had avoided making colourful pieces available.

"We wanted to make something really colourful that also happens to be gender neutral," he added.

Their brand began its soft launch online earlier this month, with items set to become available for purchase from its website in June.

Australians will get first pick of the products and the United States is expected to be next in line, Mel said.

Mel Stuart and her eight-year-old son
Mel Stuart and her eight-year-old son, who enjoys wearing clothes from both the boys and girls section. Source: Instagram/TrueYouKids

"We want to work with manufacturers that believe in our message, and do our best to make it eco friendly and sustainable," Mel said.

The duo added they hoped to also establish their brand inside major retailers in Australia down the track.

"For us it would be great to just let the kids choose clothes that make them happy, and not feel driven to the boys or girls section," Mel said.

Girls clothing is typically designed smaller than boys

The way sizing varied significantly between girls and boys clothing was another huge motivator for the parents, with girls typically having smaller sizes.

"If you buy a size seven in a boys shirt and a size seven in a girls shirt, it's significantly smaller," Mel explained.

"So the messaging that girls should go in there and need to buy a bigger size is already something you don't want them starting their shopping experience with.

"Also, why do the girls clothes need to be tighter? They're six and eight years old."

The difference in messaging was another element the parents would be doing differently, with girls clothing often featuring messages like, "you're wonderful", and boys something like, "little terror".

"The messaging across both aisles is definitely something we want to change."

The brand will initially have sizes for kids aged between three and eight, and eventually the range may expand to include baby clothes.

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