Girls should be allowed to love astronauts and trains – but sadly they don’t really have clothing options to show their interest in these topics.
That’s why Seattle-based moms Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole created buddingSTEM, a clothing line for girls that features non-traditional prints.
“[We created the line] out of our personal experiences,” Muhm told PEOPLE.
Muhm’s 4-year-old daughter wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween, until she saw that there were only boys wearing the costume in the catalogs. Catchpole had a similar experience with her own daughter, who wanted underwear with a train print, only to find these were available for boys only.
“What we wanted doesn’t exist,” says Catchpole. “Jen and I talked, and we decided that that’s not okay, and buddingSTEM was born.”
BuddingSTEM’s designs feature dinosaur and outer space illustrations.
“We were trying to come up with something that we thought our girls would love, and something that was cute and still feminine but represented science subjects that are not normally marketed to girls,” says Muhm.
The moms feel these clothes are an important addition to the current marketplace.
“Kids literally express themselves through their clothes, and at this really young age, it’s a really critical point in their development in terms of figuring out what it is that they can and can’t do, and figuring out gender roles,” says Catchpole. “When we package space and dinosaurs as being something that’s for boys, a 2, 3 or 4-year-old girl sees, ‘Oh, space is for boys. Space is not for me. Dinosaurs are for boys. Dinosaurs are not for me.’ ”
“They might have an interest in it, but they’re establishing their gender identity at this point, and a lot of them aren’t willing to cross that boundary. We wanted to make something that was for girls where they could still be feminine and still be girly, but reclaim these topics because they’re not gender-specific. There’s nothing masculine about a dinosaur.”
Their innovative line seems to be part of a larger trend of creating more gender-neutral children’s clothes – a company called Princess Awesome now has girls’ clothes available for pre-order that feature pi signs and robots.
Muhm and Catchpole are currently raising money on Kickstarter to bring their designs to production. Once the money is raised and the clothes are produced, they will be available for purchase on their site.
“We’re ready to open our e-commerce shop, which is what the Kickstarter will help accomplish,” says Catchpole. “I think ultimately we would absolutely love to see our items in stores too.”