Earlier this month, Target announced its newest line: Pillowfort. A line designed strictly for kids, Pillowfort will hit stores by the end of February. And what’s unique about this product launch? The line is comprised of trendy items that are perfect for gender-neutral home décor.
In fact, this new product launch follows Target’s attempt this past August to be more gender neutral by removing the “boys” and “girls” signs that hung over the clothing and bedding sections of the store.
After careful research and questionnaires, the retailer’s product-development team found that modern parents have grown weary of the inherently blue or pink aisles that separate the genders, noting that it’s no longer appropriate to assume that girls don’t like dinosaurs and boys don’t like horses. Boys – as we know – don’t always choose blue as their favorite color, and girls certainly don’t always choose pink.
So, Target found an opportunity to change and redefine its products to better suit the market. First with the removal of signage. And now, with Pillowfort.
The gender-neutral trend
The gender-neutrality trend isn’t a new one. This ad from the Lego Group depicting a girl using its building blocks appeared in 1981. She’s wearing blue jeans and a blue-striped shirt, her hair swinging over her shoulder in a braid. She’s strong, creative, and not dressed in sparkles and a pink ribbon. And while this ad shows a propensity for gender-neutrality, it stands in stark contrast to the highly criticized Lego Group branding from today, which includes a line of pink and purple building blocks ‘for girls.’
So, what’s happened between 1981 and today? Why is it that ads like the ones for Lego Friends have come under fire in recent years? Is it because there’s been another wave of realization that girls and boys aren’t all that different when it comes to likes and interests?
What Target found is that branding such as the most recent from Lego is potentially damaging. Perhaps less strongly, it’s just not what appeals to every boy, girl or parent out there these days. The market is looking for something else. Gender-neutrality is it.
Gender-neutral bedding and décor for kids’ rooms has been – for several years now – something to be found among higher-end retailers like Land of Nod and Pottery Barn. The real difference? It may just come down to cost. Target’s version of gender-neutral merchandise will be attainable and affordable for the average American family.
The significance in kids’ home décor
Kids’ rooms are a lot more than just a place to sleep. These days, kids’ bedrooms are the inspirational foundation for the life ahead of them. This is why you’ll see décor pieces filled with encouragement interspersed throughout the Pillowfort line. Items gently push kids to “be you” and “be awesome today.”
And beyond encouragement, the Pillowfort line embraces self-expression, creating pieces that can be mixed and matched, jumbled and tossed, to create a unique look that defines the uniqueness of its smallest inhabitant.
And modern-day parents – alongside a desire to give their kids a positive foundation full of encouragement and self-expression to start their days off well – are looking at doing so with the ease of convenience, economy and with a special place for equality.
There is, it would seem, a definitive cry for gender-neutral décor that goes beyond what’s been done before. This is why many forward-thinking parents are using taupes, blues and grays to decorate nurseries and kids’ rooms. Neutrals, like gray, have versatile shades that accentuate other décor.
Throwing the mix-and-match Pillowfort collections into a neutral base of a room gives character and harkens to the skills of a professional designer. Easy, affordable, interchangeable, expressive, gender-neutral; these are the descriptors of this new line from Target.
This gender-neutral merchandise isn’t – it should be said – the end of blues and pinks or girly or boyish prints. For girls who want a pink room, there are still plenty of options out there. But there are a lot more choices out there for the girl who would rather choose a bold yellow, blue or red as her color of choice.
If you’re looking for gender-neutral, inspirational pieces for your kids’ rooms, look no further than the big red bullseye Target has made popular. There, at the end of the month, Pillowfort will be.
Image via Public Domain Archive