stories from my red thread life

Stereotyping our children from birth?

Toronto couple Kathy Witterick and David Stocker became international news a few weeks ago when they made public their decision to raise their third child, now four months old, without imposing a specific gender identity, and to keep the child’s sex a secret. The couple explained that they wanted to neutralize the way their child would be treated, and to create an environment in which little Storm could grow freely and make independent decisions. The public response illustrated clearly how strong our feelings are on this subject of gender identity and childrearing. I think about gender stereotyping quite a bit, particularly its philosophical and practical application to the design of children’s clothing. Many parents I know have strong feelings about the way children are gender-directed from birth, through their clothing, toys and entertainment, but the vast majority of us participate in this process. Even if we feel the urge to ban the Barbie movies from our homes and encourage our sons to wear whatever they like, no matter how unusual, most of us take the easier road to mainstream social acceptance. I wanted to share a photo with you of an adorable little boy, a toddler, playing outside on a beautiful [...]

Read more →

Tickled Pink

Normally I avoid pink when I’m choosing fabrics for a new season. It’s so overdone, so painfully gendered, more about being pretty than powerful, sweet rather than strong and playful, and more imbued with symbolism than perhaps any other colour when it comes to dressing our children. My customers often tell me that they’re on the lookout for anything other than pink! But. As the mother of three girls, there have been times when each of my daughters wanted everything to be pink. And when I’m designing, I occasionally fall in love with a print that features pink, if it’s strong and vibrant and gorgeous. There are so many amazing variations on the colour spectrum, so many interesting combinations and juxtapositions. Last month I found myself facing some gorgeous pink fabric, a lovely eco-blend of soy and organic cotton in a deep rich shade of fuschia. It was a stunning match for a cotton hearts print I’d been saving for the perfect occasion. How could I resist? And so I made a special dress in 100% pink, in honour of Valentine’s Day, and I offer it to you in all its pinkness, proudly. Turns out I can do pink after [...]

Read more →