Iwona Ordon is making a difference in the parenting and baby industry with her functional baby clothing brand TØY. The clothing line is organic and sustainable, eliminating harsh chemicals in baby products, and specifically confronts the issue of gender equality. Ordon believes gender equality needs to start early, and that begins with our babies. Looking through the TØY website you will notice that the color pallet for the entire line is catered to both baby boys and girls. You may be thinking, gender equality and baby clothes? How do those two even go together?
To find out more how the clothes we choose for our babies impacts gender equality, Ordon sat down with Beauty News NYC to talk about TØY and her vision to bring back inclusivity.
What inspired you to create a gender-neutral baby clothing line?
Gender-equality is a topic very close to my heart. As a child, I was never treated differently because I am a female, which I think played a big part in the way I think about myself and my own capabilities today. While there is not a lot of scientific research on how children’s clothing affects their development, I strongly believe that the less stereotypes and social constraints children grow up with, the more freedom they have to explore their true personalities and passions. By offering gender-neutral clothing for babies I hope to inspire parents to remove the gender-stereotypes from the very beginning.
I am also very passionate about sustainability and offering gender-neutral clothing is a more sustainable option than offering gender-specific products. Most families have more than one child, and by default gender-specific clothing won’t be passed on to the next child with opposite sex as often as unisex clothing. This concerns me a lot because the sometimes barely used baby clothes have a much higher probability of ending up in landfills or being burned and contributing to air and water pollution instead of being reused by another child. Gender-neutral clothing, on the other hand, maximizes the garments’ chances of entering the circular economy and minimizes the need for unnecessary production of new clothing.
What is the impact on children you have seen when they wear clothes that are gender-neutral?
In my opinion, gender-neutral clothing removes the stereotypes and invisible boundaries that society is placing around children these days. Without them, children don’t have to grow up worrying about gender constraints, and that in return allows them to be freer to explore and learn what interests them — and not what they’re expected to be interested in because of their gender. There is interesting research done by Ruth Rubenstein from 2000 that mentions how we can make childhood last longer by taking away gender focus from baby and children’s clothing, so children can go back to focus on simply being kids instead of having to learn what society expects of their gender from their earliest days.
What are the colors you use in your clothing line and why these choices?
Right now we have four different collections: Pure Cotton, Neutral Grey, Deep Ocean Blue and Forest Green. All of our meaningful collections are inspired by nature and the timeless earthy colors found in it. Each collection is designed to represent something beyond its color, which I call a meaningful collection. Pure Cotton is a tribute to our nature, designed the way nature wanted it to be: no dyes, bleaches or other chemicals are used on the organic cotton to preserve its original color. Our dyed collection Neutral Grey represents peace and calmness, Deep Ocean Blue is meant to remind parents and their babies of the power within themselves and Forest Green will transform you to the magical TØY forest where you can reconnect with nature. The full story behind each collection can be found on our website.
Our newest addition to TØY’s earthy palette, which is launching late January, is the perfect mix of red and orange shades; Salmon Pink. The collection is inspired by the unique hope and persistence of the salmon fish, a species that is also one of the main treasures of Norway. I find it so inspiring that the salmon has to swim against the river streams for thousands of miles just to start their family. There is so much dedication that goes into the process, and the fact that they don’t give up until they achieve their goal is something truly remarkable.
You created the Salmon Pink line because of the psychological aspects correlated to the human brain. Could you elaborate more on this and the color psychology you use in your work?
Absolutely, I love doing research and sharing it! In color psychology the salmon color, which comes in different variations of red and orange, is said to boost a person’s confidence, which I believe is especially important for parents. Self-doubt in their parenting abilities and skills is way too common, but often without any reason. With this collection I want to give parents their confidence back!
Our Salmon Pink color also has a bit of a coral color in it. Coral is said to be a sign of positivity and hope, while in color psychology it is also being categorized as an “inclusive” color. Given where the world is at right now adding a part of positivity to our collections as a sign of hope for an inclusive future felt very right.
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