By Lincoln Wright
South Bend Tribune, Ind.
Shopping trips with her 5-year-old twin daughters often left Dana Babbin frustrated. Unable to find the types of clothes her girls wanted, she would turn to the boys section.
But for as long as Dana can remember, her spunky twins weren’t fawning over princesses — they wanted trucks and bulldozers.
“My girls just love trucks and they were basically given a message through the marketplace that it wasn’t cool for them, and that was unfortunate,” said Babbin, a 1992 University of Notre Dame graduate.
Babbin, a former prosecutor who now consults about cyber crimes against children, decided to try to change things. So she started Pink Truck, a clothing company for all ages that blurs the gender divide.
Babbin, though, doesn’t like using the term “gender neutral” for the clothing line that she launched in December. After all, her goal is to provide more options for kids to feel comfortable being who they are, she explained.
“I want to celebrate gender and its differences, but more importantly, its commonality,” Babbin said. “I just want you to know that no matter what things you enjoy and have a passion for I’m going to celebrate.”
She says her message, sent through pink truck, train, boat and other vehicle logos on neutral-colored clothing, is as simple as that — letting kids be who they are. The Pink Truck line isn’t in stores yet — that’s one of Babbin’s next goals — but they can be purchased online at www.pinktruckdesigns.com.
Though the idea of gender neutral clothing is far from commonplace, it’s becoming a growing niche in the apparel industry, with some well known labels such as Gucci and a host of smaller ones making inroads through online stores and even mainstream retailers such as GapKids and Babies ‘R’ Us.