Rosaria Esposito

Features · UK

John Lewis has decided to remove gender labels from its clothing

An overreaction to please social media mobs?

John Lewis has become the first UK retailer to take off gender labels from its children’s clothing.

The department store has done away with the separate sections in stores, and also removed "girls" and "boys" labels from clothes. From now on, labels on John Lewis' own brand clothing will just say  "Boys & Girls" or "Girls & Boys".

The clothing styles haven't changed so you’ll still be able to buy floral skirts and dresses, but the retailer wants to prove the point that they can be worn by girls and boys. School uniforms are the only category of clothing that hasn't been changed yet, but it will soon.

John Lewis has also launched a new collection of  'non-gender specific' clothing, which includes jumpers, dresses and trousers. Pictures from the new range show boys wearing pink tops and girls wearing blue trousers.

There has recently been some complaints from customers of other stores such as Asda and Morrisons about t-shirts which had labels such as 'little girl, big smiles' and 'little man, big ideas' printed on them.

Asda was also heavily criticised for a jumper which read 'boys will be boys' on it.

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 customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear."

There are some exceptions, but plans are in place to make them follow similar principles including the website which might scrap 'boys' and 'girls' sections.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen commented:

‘Boys and girls labels and signs are informative. I think removing them could be very confusing for the consumer.’

Whether this is just an overreaction to please the current social media mobs, or is a move actually welcomed by children and parents, remains to be seen.