Just in time for school, this designer is making gender-neutral backpacks
When I was a kid, monogrammed LL Bean backpacks were the rage, but weirdly, only some colors were considered “in” for boys, and the same for girls. I think I had a dark raspberry pink one, while many of my male peers opted for black and navy blue.
Nowadays, the same weird gendering of kids’ stuff is everywhere, whether it be in the form of a his-and-hers toy aisle (Tonka on one side, Barbie on the other), or, well, backpacks. While unisex options are available, they tend to be dull — single, solid colors in the kind of utilitarian styles that, let’s be real, kids tend to gravitate away from.
With that in mind, we’re so here for Hero New York, a new line of backpacks that are designed with to be gender-neutral in colorways and design, and also come equipped with information on some of the world’s most transformative historical figures.
(Hence, the name.)
Hero New York, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is the brainchild of Alissa Lentz, who wants kids to “carry confidence” with them in the shape of practical and actually fun bags. Though Lentz has designed the bags with kids specifically in mind, adults are free to get in on the action, and with a 13″ backpack running at $49, we’re sure plenty of grown-ups can appreciate the backpack’s night-reflective strips, multiple compartments, and water-resistant fabric.
And, here’s something you don’t get with any other bag: Collectible hero trading cards of figures that are typically under-celebrated not just in popular culture, but also in classrooms.
Lentz made sure to especially put women, and especially women in STEM fields, in the decks. In an interview with GOOD Magazine, she noted that, “If you look at the statistics, little girls show huge interest in science and mathematics courses when they’re really young, but that drops off once they’re exposed to the gender stereotypes and roles they see in the media.”
“If you walk into [a store], it’s always pink for girls and blue for boys. Or you go online, and you have to sort products by ‘girl colors’ and ‘boy colors’ … It’s very freeing, when kids act and behave like they want to, not how they’re supposed to. If you see it, you can be it.”
Need another reason to check them out? There’s this — part of each sale will go toward benefitting NYC’s High School of the Fashion Industries, which will help alleviate some of the financial burden for the next generation of innovative designers.