Creative Child

An Open Letter to Children’s Clothing Designers

by Allie Garcia

On Behalf of My Daughter,

To the artists, marketers, and creators of children’s clothing in the United States and abroad,

My eyes lit up as I opened my mailbox last week and I held one of my favorite children’s clothing catalogs in my hand. There is something so magical about thumbing through the pages of adorable clothing as compared to opening up an email with just one or two items. I quickly fell in love with an adorable onesie with the words, “Brave Little Explorer,” written across a silhouette of a brown bear, placed on a page full of precious baby boy models. I glanced at the opposite page to find the female counterpart to this endearing collection, but my heart quickly sank.

The featured shirt said, “Super Cute” in silver, sparkly letters. My daughter is super cute, but more than that, she is a brave, little explorer, like many other curious toddler girls that I know. I tried to find options in the following pages, but was left with more disappointment as my eyes read tiny onesie after tiny onesie embedded with the words, “Seriously Adorable,” and, “Grandma’s Cutie.” I decided to check out this specific company’s website and I continued to be unimpressed by the selection of graphic tees and onesies for girls.

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For every one shirt labeled “Awesome,” there were ten “Totally Adorables.” The little boy’s clothing, however, did not disappoint. There was a vast selection of inspiring phrases, plastered across nearly every item of boy’s clothing- a dinosaur shirt with the words, “Big Dreamer,” rocket ship pajamas that said, “Beyond Awesome,” a lightning bolt tee with the words, “Faster Than the Speed of Lightning,” a shirt with an adorable mountain landscape and the words, “Adventure Seeker,” and my favorite of all, a simple tee shirt with the words, “Legend in the Making.”

I slumped back in my seat, because while I want to remind my daughter daily of her external beauty (and even “adorableness”), from the deepest part of my heart I want her to know that she is able - that she is capable of awesomeness, that she should dream big, seek out adventure, and that she was made to do great things - things that are legendary.

It isn’t just the words on the clothing either. You are designing girls’ clothing that is limited; outfits with sparkly wands, puppies, kitties, ballerinas, princesses, and hearts. While these are all things that nearly every little girl I know enjoys, they do not encompass many of the other interests of little girls. My daughter and her friends love playing dinosaurs and soccer, picking up roly-poly's, riding bikes, playing with toy cars, and pretending to fly airplanes.

I am not asking for the removal of all things pink and princess, but what I am pleading with you for is variety - that our girls do not have to look past the words on their clothing to know that their value goes far beyond their outward appearance, and that the clothing that they are given to choose from allows them to practice self expression of all of their interests, not just the ones currently being deemed feminine enough to make into the catalogue.

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