Gender-free John Lewis – the launch of the unisex brand

Boys will be boys… but not according to John Lewis. The nation’s favourite department store, ‘never knowingly undersold’, has announced they are launching a unisex brand…

Genius PR was my first thought (why hadn’t I thought of it, was my second).

I grew up in an all-girl household, and attended an all-girl school – and (possibly as a result) was your archetypal Tom boy.

Photos from my childhood reveal a basin cut hair style (I only grew my hair from the age of 14). I loved sport, getting muddy and playing with Lego and trains. I spent Saturday afternoons on the kop at Wednesday (up the Owls… WAWAW) and had a wardrobe full of blue t shirts – and lots – and lots – of denim. I detested pink (still do…) and am not sure I ever owned a frilly dress, let alone wear one. Put simply, I didn’t need a label to help me dress – and nor did my mother (or father for that matter…), thanks anyway John Lewis.

I appreciate I was incredibly lucky to have been given the confidence and reassurance from a very young age to do and achieve anything I set my mind to (something I still thank my parents for everyday).

My presence as a girl, certainly in the world of school, education and work, had never occurred to me until I hit university, attended lectures with boys, and began to realise the meaning of ‘patriarchal’. It was a rude awakening – although arguably one of my more valuable lessons studying contemporary politics in London.

Over the last day I’ve read a number of interviews relating to the John Lewis announcement and can see that their drive – in part – is to help girls and boys break out of the uniform moulds that somehow we’ve managed to give them, break down barriers and build tolerance. And I’m all for that… genius PR or otherwise.