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New Girls' Clothing Line Breaks Stereotypes

New Girls' Clothing Line Challenges Gender Stereotypes
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Many little girls like dolls, flowers, butterflies and ponies. A lot of them also like cars, robots, dinosaurs, and spaceships. Two mothers decided to make clothes for them.

New Girls' Clothing Line Breaking Stereotypes
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Many little girls like flowers, watching butterflies and riding ponies. A lot of them also like cars, robots and spaceships. But most girls’ clothing only has pictures of flowers, butterflies or ponies.

Two mothers decided to make clothes that are more representative of all the things that little girls are, and do, and love.

Six-year-old Bella loves to build houses and play with cars.

"I like Barbie also dinosaurs."
So her dress has pictures of dinosaurs on it.

"I need a train to put on the train track."

Her friend Penny enjoys making things with building blocks.
"I like to make trucks."

The four-year old also likes the colors pink and purple, and the dress she is wearing. Cathy Tramontana is Penny’s mother.
"She really enjoys wearing it. It's bright, comfortable, and unique."

Penny’s clothing is unusual because it has images in the shape of the mathematical symbol pi. Cathy Tramontana says the design opens the door to discussions on mathematics.

"We haven't found this type of dress in the store."

The pi and dinosaur dresses are from a new girl's clothing line called Princess Awesome. Rebecca Melsky set up the business. She says its products for girls have some designs normally found on boys' clothes.

"I think that a girl wearing a dress with science on it. She's telling the world when she's out that this is something she's interested in. She can love girly things and also love science. It tells that science is just as much for girls as it is for boys."

It all started two years ago when Rebecca Melsky was hoping to buy clothing for her two-year-old, who refused to wear anything but a dress. Ms. Melsky bought pajamas meant for boys because her daughter also liked robots, trucks and spaceships.

"One day I would walk out past through the girls' section of the store, I thought to myself I wish they'd make one of those cute dresses that also have a robot on it or a dinosaur because she will wear that. She will love that. And I thought someone should do that. Maybe I should do that."

Her friend Eva St. Clair believed she should, and their business was born. The two women got together on Saturdays.

They used fabrics with images of trucks, airplanes, pirates and atoms. They also created art dresses based on works by Van Gogh and Monet.

"Usually Rebecca and I would be down in my basement. Rebecca would cut and I would stitch. And we got to where we could do about four in an hour."

The women sold the first 70 dresses they made at a local market. So the founders decided to expand their business online. Their products sold very well there, too.

"These sold out so fast that I could not make them fast enough. We decided it was time to figure out how to go into a factory."

So they turned to a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money from a large number of people over the Internet to support a project. The women met their goal of $35,000 within days and raised more than $215,000 in donations.

"Our biggest challenge is going to be how do we expand as rapidly as people seem to want us to."

The founders hope Princess Awesome will expand into products for girls of all ages and all interests.

I’m Marsha James.

VOA’s June Soh prepared this story. Marsha James wrote it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in this Story

discussion – n. the act of talking about something with another person or a group of people

fabric – n. woven or knitted material, cloth

stitch – n. a piece of thread that is passed through a piece of material with a needle