John Lewis adopts gender neutral clothing lines for children

John Lewis adopts gender neutral clothing lines for children

John Lewis has broken with centuries of tradition to scrap separate clothing lines for boys and girls in response to campaigners calling for an end to gender stereotyping.

As a result the department chain has become the first High Street retailer to adopt a single clothing line labelled ‘boys and girls’ or ‘girls and boys’, removing pressure on parents to purchase particular colours, patterns and styles for their children.

Explaining their bold move Caroline Bettis, head of childrenswear at John Lewis, remarked: "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."

New labels announcing the change appear on all own-brand clothing aimed at children aged between 0 and 14 in addition to gender neutral designs which include dresses patterned with dinosaurs and toy soldiers.

The move has been welcomed by campaign group Let Clothes be Clothes which said it was ‘thrilled’ by the change in policy, which is expected to be reflected online shortly but other Twitter users were less happy, exclaiming that ‘The world’s gone barking mad’.

Last month shoe-chain Clarks put its foot in it after labelling a girls range 'Dolly Babe' and an equivalent style for boys as 'Leader', sparking a sexism row.

The Advertising Standards Authority is also adopting a tougher stance against gender stereotyping in ads.

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