Some of my first memories start around 3 years plus. I wanted a red car, a red house and a red dress. Am yet to buy the red car and paint my house red. Sigh! But I suppose red was my favourite for that moment and may be I moved over to yellow and then probably green and then pink. I know, I was a handful. Even after more than 3 decades, I sometimes have a colour 'phase'. For a good few months everything in, say, blue looks so so nice. And then I move on ..probably to white and so on… I know I am not alone.
Basically its freedom to chose a colour that you like best at that moment and rocking it.
I can't recollect when exactly colours became gender specific - like blue for boys and pink for girls, but I am happy it wasn't so when I was growing up. Today, the market decides what will be available this season - whats in trend and hence what you will buy. Thomas Friedman, can now use just pics of teens in the LA, Paris, Bangalore, Rio and Singapore and say 'The world it flat'. Everyone wears the same thing - tights and tees. He could have saved himself writing the whole book. Just kidding.
But academia is left behind if you notice, they still preach, "Know your customer" in the marketing class. It might take them a few years to change the books to match reality and say, "Teach your customer what they should like". (Translated to 'manipulate your customer').
Hence little girls are expected to buy pink and boys blue. Or rather should I say parents are expected to shop so for their precious little ones. Whatever happened to that little girl who wanted a red frock. Probably mommy looks up online and says, 'sorry sweetheart, you can wear only pink."
Imagine walking into a gorgeous shop filled with choices and being told that you are restricted to shopping clothes in one particular colour. Thats gender apartheid ! Yes, that is a word. Apparently last year Hamleys, one of the largest toy stores in the UK had to restructure after being pointed guilty of gender apartheid. http://bit.ly/1GBsfKD
I know what you are thinking - I run a brand and why can't I introduce all the colours I want at Little Green Kid. We did, I tell you. But the colour system is so ingrained into everything, big companies show their monster eyes to small companies like us. For example we introduced peppy yellow and smart turquoise for infants. They are designed so that both baby boys and baby girls can look oh-so-adorable in them. But when we list these online on Flipkart.com, Indias largest online store, as a seller we are being forced to display it as either Boy or Girl. We tried reasoning it out with them that its for a 'baby' and that we chose these colours on purpose so that our creations can be enjoyed by parents of both gender. (I even saved him our speech that our mission and vision are aligned towards a green planet and hence organic cotton and that we are not interested in gender stereotyping). But they said, 'Its our Policy'. Really? Its now become policy to gender stereotype? I know that the guy on the other end of the telephone is only hired to repeat what he has been taught and that the guy/gal who coded the seller portal was asked to design the system to ask for 'gender' for every garment and would not have had the bandwidth to think about 'gender apartheid'.
My prof, Jake Cohen, at INSEAD used to say, explain like a 5 year old would understand. Well, here is a 3 year old explaining it -http://bit.ly/1g972Pb
I am interested in Mr. Bansal's, #Flipkart founder, take on it . But more importantly, I would really like to know what one should do when a conglomerate dictates which colour you should shop for your little one? What's your take?
Rashmi Vittalposted on 12/30/2015 4:19 PM