LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jaime King believes lessons about tolerance should start young.
The actress and mother of two recently launched a gender-neutral children's clothing line which she hopes will inspire acceptance and self-expression among kids and adults alike.
"It's interesting how we've created these social norms that are incredibly stifling for our children," said King of traditional kids' clothing. "Our children should be allowed to express themselves however they want."
King teamed with Singapore-based, Swedish designer Kristin Nystrom of Gardner and the Gang for the organic, gender-free capsule collection. There are dresses that boys can wear, pants for girls, and the patterns are not gender-specific either. Anything and everything can be for boys and girls.
"(We) get an opportunity to send that message to children and their parents that it's OK, whatever you want to wear. You're beautiful the way you are," said Nystrom in a recent interview.
King, who starred in the CW series "Hart of Dixie," said that message is particularly relevant amid the on-going debate over bathroom access for transgender people.
"Our intention is never to be political, but we are speaking inherently to what the issues are within the world and we don't shy away from that. Like the fact is, we have major issues in regards to what's happening with the transgender community," said King.
"I have several friends that have children that don't identify with the bodies that they were born in and that was a big reason why I wanted to do this. And I have since received incredible messages from them thanking me for doing something that to me I felt was ... my civic duty to do."
King practices what she preaches by celebrating her son's bold style choices.
"Yesterday he wanted red hair so he spray-painted his hair red with glitter," she said of 2-year-old James Knight. "He chose these white sneakers with gold spikes. So he looked rad. And all the kids are like 'James Knight! James Knight!' at preschool because he comes in looking like a total rock star. ... It's really amazing how at like two years and 10 months this kid is really specific about what he wants to wear, but I love that!"
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