Atlanta's First Gender-Neutral Clothing Store Is Black-Owned
"This is one of the stores where kids can be themselves," said 8-year-old Erin, who inspired her mother to create Mini Friday.
Inspired by her 8-year-old daughter's fashion style, an Atlanta mother just opened the city's first gender-neutral clothing store.
What Now Atlanta reports Allie Friday opened the doors to her boutique store, Mini Friday, on May 11 with a focus on stripping away gender norms in children's clothing.
The mother and entrepreneur shared that her youngest daughter, Erin, inspired her to create the shop due to her insistence to avoid frilly clothing.
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“The inspiration for Mini Friday really came from my daughter who only wanted to wear clothes she thought were cool and comfy,” Allie wrote in a statement prior to the store's premiere.
“She loved her brothers’ style but sometimes wanted to dress like her sister," she continued. "Finding fashion for her that met in the middle was nearly impossible."
Allie told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she not only desired to see her child happy but also to provide a "safe space for all children who simply want to wear what they like, without judgment.”
"Traveling around the world, I was able to understand that there are people who have gender-neutral clothing and I just thought, 'let me bring that here.' I'm sure she's not the only kid in the world who doesn't want to wear dresses and bows," Allie added.
The Georgia native, who says she created her own fashion line as an adolescent, will mostly retail fashion from companies located in the United Kingdom and along the West Coast.
Gender-neutral clothing, which have seen an uptick in popularity over the past decade, is neither male nor female-exclusive. Gender norms such as blue for boys and pink for girls are slowly fading as many people look to embrace a wide assortment of clothing, particularly for parents buying for children.
In large part, the LGBTQ community has pushed this agenda in an effort to allow children and adults to be more free and expressive than what society tends to box us in.
The store sells clothing items for children between 24 months and 8 years old. Mini Friday also has an upcycling program available, where customers can exchange old or outgrown pieces for a discount on newer ones. Other returned clothing deemed gently-worn will be donated to local charities.
“I feel like all children should be celebrated and given options to express their own fashion sense,” Allie said. She noted that she looks up to fashionable celebrities such as June Ambrose, Jaden Smith and TenishaTenisha for their contributions to the androgynous style.
The store also offers a "safe zone" where children can play and unite. From morning dance parties and fun in-store photo shoots, they're encouraged to be their full selves.
“When I was about 5, I felt like if I wore a dress, I wasn’t being Erin," Allie's daughter explained. "I was just wearing what someone told me to wear."
“This is a place where kids can be themselves," she proudly said.