The world is caught in a moment many thought would never arrive. There is finally an excitement about all things STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — and it's bubbling over into all areas of life, like STEM-inspired dresses from Annie the Brave. For a long time, if you wanted clothing that celebrated your love of science, you could get regular tees or the occasional hooded sweatshirt. But the days of boring STEMware are over, thanks to Annie the Brave, which empowers children with dresses that feature graphics from multiple areas of interest normally relegated only to the dress of boys.
The prints that are available are unlike most dresses on the market in that they explore ideas that have not traditionally been associated with "feminine" dress. It's still a huge problem. The majority of dresses available at stores are covered in flowers, polka dots, unicorns, or cartoonish stars, and while that is fun and many children do love them, these STEM-inspired dresses from Annie the Brave proudly declare kids' unadulterated adoration for science.
In a press release about the dresses, the founder, Chelsea Coulston, said that she wants "to take little girls on a journey from childhood to adulthood, teaching them to embrace and excel in the interests that sets their souls on fire, not what society suggests. Little girls can now show off their love for science, space, the ocean, construction, dinosaurs, and more, through their simultaneous love for dresses and climbing trees."
Femme-identifying kids are often limited in their choices, and not only in their clothing. When I was growing up in the '90s, girls like me who loved science class and couldn't wait to join the Marine Biology club in high school, were discouraged at every turn from working in these fields. I was told by my high school chemistry teacher in the early aughts that chem labs "just aren't a good place for women. It's a man's culture."
Well, excuse me, but screw that. I want my daughter to know that no matter how she chooses to dress herself or how she identifies, that if she loves science, math, tech, machinery, or robotics, she should have every opportunity to explore, and be encouraged to boldly confess her interests.
NASA wouldn't be where it is without women like Katherine Johnson. We wouldn't have computer connectivity and wireless networking without the mind of Hedy Lamarr and her spread spectrum technology. Without women like Sylvia Earle, we wouldn't be even a tenth as concerned as we are about protecting marine habitats. It was women like Donna Auguste'' and her work at Apple that we even have iPhones and iPads.
They never got the chance to have dresses with spaceships or microscopes printed across their fabric, but our girls do. Annie the Brave is encouraging young minds to think about how the world works, and to shout their interest by what they wear. The newest collection, launching Oct. 3, will feature dinosaurs wearing crowns, caterpillars crawling across the dirt, planes in the air, and dump trucks digging up the earth. They are showing girls that what they love isn't based on gender, but their own curiosity.
Apart from the fact that these STEM-inspired dresses from Annie the Brave are great patterns and fun colors, they're also 100 percent cotton. I think that's perhaps even more rare than finding a dress with femme-presenting astronauts and scientists. Bonus: they're meant to be played in!
Do you have any idea how much time and effort one has to put into shopping if they want something without polymer materials? I mean, my yoga pants will tell you of my love of elastane, but I'm also trying to buy more things that are biodegradable. These aren't "fast fashion" that's going to end up in the ocean and piss off Sylvia Earle. This is all natural, and won't live for centuries after the wearer is gone.
And to be honest, it's only $35, and it looks like the skirt does a fair job at twirling around when you spin. The price is one of my biggest factors for purchasing a dress. The twirlability? That's my daughter's. These dresses could not be any more perfect, and you can find them at the Annie the Brave website.