Jaime King is breaking down barriers.
The Hart of Dixie star is teaming up with children’s clothing retailer Gardner and the Gang, led by Kristin Nystrom, to design the Gardner and the Gang ♥ Jaime King Collection: a socially and environmentally aware, gender-fluid clothing brand that aims to make children feel empowered and accepted.
“We have set limitations upon our children and babies, whether that be consciously or subconsciously. Somewhere along the line of ‘dos and don’ts,’ we relegated children into little boxes that are so restrictive,” King, 37, tells PEOPLE exclusively of her inspiration behind the collaboration.
The actress and model adds: “Somehow, the world decided that boys belong in blue and girls belong in pink and anything other than that is weird or strange and in some ways frowned upon — as if allowing a boy to wear purple or hot pink is steering them in the wrong direction.”
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King’s collaboration with Nystrom not only takes care to focus less on stereotypically “male” or “female” colors, but also incorporates prints that are just as meaningful as they are fun.
“When I see my child at the playground holding hands and playing with another boy — regardless of age, race, situation or circumstance — all I see from him is loving, and the powerful and effortless ability to connect,” King says.
“So that’s where we came up with the idea to take animals that you’d typically not see in the animal kingdom getting along, sharing a milkshake,” she says of The Lion’s Heart collection. “Because that’s what our kids do.”
“The reason I wanted to design a collaboration with Gardner and the Gang is because the moment that I saw what Kristin was creating, I felt an electricity inside of myself,” King continues. “My immediate thought was that this is not only ahead of its time, but the future of children’s clothing.”
King, who is mom to sons James Knight, 2½, and Leo Thames, 10 months, with director husband Kyle Newman, 40, didn’t stop at wanting to create clothing that was gender-fluid and empowering. The line is also meant to keep kids dreaming and playing creatively, both together and independently.
“The most important thing for Kristin and me was to make sure we’re not just making clothing, but we’re making clothing that really excites the imagination, that shares the message of camaraderie, togetherness and playfulness,” the Sin City actress says.
“This collection is vastly important because we want any boy that likes our dresses to rock them,” King continues. “[For] any girl that doesn’t want to wear a skirt to put on some sweet leggings.”
The Lion’s Heart collection for Gardner and the Gang ♥ Jaime King is available now at Gardnerandthegang.com.
— Jen Juneau