by Elizabeth Brunner
Meet the mind behind StereoType’s style!
StereoType was founded by a passionate parent and designer who knew there was something missing in the children’s fashion world. Elizabeth Brunner wants to offer clothing that is wearable, well-designed, and fun.
Elizabeth calls the StereoType aesthetic “blended fashion.” Rather than rely solely on neutrals, Elizabeth’s blended fashion philosophy takes the best from all children’s clothing and creates separates designed to be mixed, matched, and worn by all. Here, Elizabeth shares the story behind StereoType and how her observations as a parent helped her create the line.
What is your design background?
I was drawn to fashion as a young child watching my mother sew. She would take me to the fabric store, I’d look at all the pattern catalogs with her, select the fabrics, the notions, and watch her begin the process for creating a garment. It was time I loved spending with her and it planted a seed. I studied fashion design many years later and I've forged a path that is true to myself and my ideals, even if they aren’t popular. My first clothing line Piece x Piece was all about recycled fabrics that were collected from design studios, and that line was really a direct reflection of my childhood spent collecting scraps from my mom’s project to make clothes for my dolls. It was also a reflection of my dismay at all the waste the fashion industry creates season after season. My collection was about change, and a rallying cry to do better as designers but also as consumers.
What inspired you to pivot to children’s fashion?
When I became a parent after having my twins, fashion took on a different meaning for me. Everyone wanted to know if I was having boys, girls, both. It was a constant question from family to complete strangers, the need to know was imperative. I realized pretty early on that clothing in a gendered form is comforting to a lot of people because it’s something we can control.
But when my boy/girl twins started dressing themselves, they just wore what made them feel good, and that brought them happiness. I can’t think of a better way for my kids to dress, which is in their own expression and their own unique style. This is what I love so much about fashion, everyday is an opportunity to be authentic to who you truly are and kids understand this better than adults do.
Becoming and evolving as a parent, watching my children grow and observe what their natural preferences were, I began to understand that gender has nothing to do with their personal style. Choosing to wear whatever they wanted regardless of what gender it was intended for, without judgment is what I want for my kids. Our children don’t need us to define them, they need us to accept them no matter what.
What does StereoType mean and why is that the label name?
The names StereoType has multiple meanings, but the initial idea for the name came from thinking about gendered clothing in a different way, one that defines us without our permission, that makes assumptions without asking questions, it’s something we all face in some form, (stereotypes) which connects us all. We’re turning those stereotypes on their head, which is why the text is flipped and mirrored.
The name is also referencing the two words, stereo and type as separate meanings. Stereo, meaning connecting to create harmony between two channels, and type meaning what “type” of person do I want to be today? It’s a question that you can change the answer to everyday, and that seemed exciting to me. The boombox is the perfect logo to connect the harmony and fun of this kids clothing line.
What is your vision for the Stereotype brand?
My vision for the brand is simple: To remove barriers that are not real. We live in a world where a lot of things are decided for us, without questioning them. I realized when I watched my kids freely dress themselves that they don’t know any “rules” about gendered clothing unless I decide to tell them. For me it was facing a “stereotype” that didn’t sit well with me because it meant having to limit my kids natural curiosity and creativity, two things that children thrive on.
What do you see in Stereotype’s future?
StereoType is evolving into a conversation about what limits we subconsciously put on our kids and on ourselves. It’s not just about buying fashionable clothing for your kids but championing individual style and asking questions. The sooner we get to know ourselves the better. Kiddos naturally know this.
How do your children inspire your creativity?
They inspire me to be in the present moment. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed I watch my kids play and they are so present with what they are doing and enjoying every moment of it. It reminds me that we really only have the moment that’s before us so it’s not worth the anxiety to worry about something that may never happen in the future. All we have is now. I’m so grateful for that gift from them.
What’s your greatest superpower as a parent?
Being conscious as much as possible. If I can be conscious in the way I wish to parent my kids so that they feel safe, loved and seen, then I can do anything.
Elizabeth Brunner is the Founder and CEO of StereoType, a gender-free kids' fashion brand that challenges the norms and stereotypes of traditional clothing.