As fashion brands are increasingly becoming less obsessed with the gender binary, a market is opening up for gender-neutral children's clothing, which Target hopes to fill with a new back-to-school line from Toca Boca.
Next week, the retail giant will debut a new line of inclusive fashion accessories and apparel from the Stockholm-based company, which was founded in 2011 as a mobile gaming app for kids. Over the years, the company has built a reputation for eschewing gender norms, most notably in the brightly-colored worlds of its popular games Toca Boca Hair Salon and Toca Robot Lab, which players navigate using a cast of quirky, ungendered creatures.
Though this marks the first time Toca Boca's products will be taken into the physical world, its characters are tailor-made for a new generation of students.
"Our vision for the clothing line was to do what we’re good at at Toca Boca, which is play, and translate that into everyday experiences for kids," said Mathilda Engman, Toca Boca’s design director.
"It’s a silly humor and quirkiness that resonates with both girls and boys, and doesn’t fall into gender stereotypes."
The collection will boast a large assortment of products, including cloud-shaped plushes, cat backpacks, wildly patterned shirts and much more.
The partnership between Target and Toca Boca seems like a natural step for the retail chain, who ditched gendered signage in its children's toy aisles back in 2015.
In 2016, the company made another progressive step when it announced a new inclusive bathroom policy, allowing transgender customers to use restrooms that match their gender identity.
"We want to make sure we provide a welcoming environment for all of our guests. One that is safe, one that is comfortable," said Target CEO Brian Cornell at the time.
"We took a stance. We’re going to continue to embrace our belief in diversity and inclusion, just how important that is to our company. But we’re also going to make sure our focus on safety is unwavering."
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