Just in time for back to school we're here to tell you all about a gender-defying clothing line that we're absolutely obsessed with! When local mom Courtney Hartman couldn't find any gender cliche-free tees for her son, she decided to create her own. And guess what? Everyone's loving Free to Be Kids - especially here in Seattle.
In fact, the company couldn't be more proud to be from Seattle, so much so the labels inside the shirts even boast that they're "handprinted in Seattle".
" I grew up in Portland and I've lived in Seattle for ten years," said Hartman. "My husband and I got engaged and married and had two kids here, so our roots in Seattle are deep".
So, what's the top selling shirt in Seattle you ask?
"We released a design called Boys Will Be Good Humans in October, about a week before the Donald Trump bus video broke," said Hartman. "Some people tried to dismiss those words as 'locker-room talk' and more or less brush the whole thing off as "boys will be boys." After that, the shirt rocketed to popularity pretty fast here in Seattle and elsewhere.
"It was really crazy timing that we released it when we did," she said. "I think it hit a nerve because people are so desperately fed up with toxic masculinity, and it's front and center these days in a way it hasn't been in a while. 'Boys will be boys' as an excuse for poor behavior just doesn't cut it anymore. Your gender doesn't predispose you to be disrespectful and naughty. Behaving badly is a choice.
Hartman continues to make waves, one gender-defying outfit at a time.
"Whenever I'm at a loss for inspiration, I just go look around at some of those big box stores' web sites, and the ideas come flooding in," she said. "This is going to sound snarky, but my number one design strategy is to go look at what Carters, Old Navy and the like are doing, and just do the opposite. Many of our shirts have come into being that way! For every negative design, there is an equal and opposite positive message just waiting to be realized. Dreaming up what that looks like is the best part of my job".
If you love twinning with your kiddo, good news. The clothing line also sells adult sizes! A dream come true for this mama (cue eye rolls).
Color us super impressed with Hartman for trying to flip the script on these negative messages, one woke fashion statement at a time. Scroll through the gallery for some shopping inspiration!