In its century-old Oxford Street store in London, the upscale British retailer Selfridges debuted its gender-neutral “Agender” line in 2015. A year later, the Spanish fashion juggernaut Zara opened stores in 96 different countries with its “Ungendered” campaign. H&M debuted a gender-neutral collection last year that focused on chunky footwear and producing genderless shapes in association with fellow Swedish brand Eytys. Collusion, a company supported by ASOS, advertises itself as being completely “made by Gen-Z, for Gen-Z” thanks to its broad unisex selection. Major mainstream businesses are investigating clothing alternatives outside of the traditional gender binary as genderless clothing lines are on the rise.
Blurring gender stereotypes in fashion is nothing new for a sector of the economy that is mainly based on the concept of self-expression. Long-standing cultural debates regarding gender and identity have influenced fashion and vice versa. For a long time, unisex clothing has defied social standards, such as the 1966 Le Smoking tuxedo by Yves Saint Laurent for ladies or the 1985 skirt by Jean Paul Gaultier for males. What’s new is the expansion of the cultural dialogue around gender and sexuality, which is being driven by consumers. Allowing artificial criteria like sex and gender to govern what we should and shouldn’t wear starts to appear a little out of date as educational dialogues about non-binary identities become more commonplace at dinner table topics.
Retail concepts are changing as a result of this shift in cultural expectations. Gender-neutral attire is already making its way from the runway and fashion magazines to the conventional fashion sections that have long been divided by gender.
The Phluid Project’s creator, Rob Smith, describes how the rise of Generation Z as a powerful commercial force has caused a paradigm change and led to the opening of New York’s first gender-neutral store. Young millennials and Gen Z, the generation born after 1997, are urging businesses to modify long-standing gender roles in fashion much as companies are attempting to modify parental leave policies in response to the evolving social view of gender roles.
78 percent of Gen Z consumers say that gender no longer completely defines who they are and that they feel more at ease identifying in ways other than the gender roles that have been ascribed to them. In accordance with a 2018 Pew Research Center poll, 35% of Gen Zers are familiar with non-binary folks or those who choose gender-neutral pronouns. In addition, a 2016 survey by J. Walter Thomspon found that 56% of Gen Z customers currently shop outside of the gender-designated sections for their clothing, disregarded by shops. Gender fluidity is almost always included in firms’ retail strategies due to Gen Z’s estimated $143 billion in purchasing power, making it a long-term investment rather than a passing fad.
It can, however, appear one-sided how the fashion business addresses the sense of gendered constraint that both men and women face. big fundamentals, neutral hues, and loose silhouettes. This is how a designer’s traditional effort at creating a more diverse clothes range seems. When launching apparently gender-neutral clothing, huge fast-fashion companies, in particular, frequently provide items that appear to have been converted from the masculine. Male models don’t really push gender limits by adhering to the hoodies and shirts that are stereotypically ‘male’ from the get-go, but female models have worn various masculine designs.
A political strategy that aims to incorporate women into a male worldview has steadily normalized women wearing masculine attire. The practice of women dressed in men’s clothing has a long history in our society, dating back to Frida Kahlo and the suffragette movement. However, political developments like the legalization of homosexual marriage that create room for males to dress in more feminine fashions have just recently begun to get public attention. Particularly transgender and non-binary people have voiced dissatisfaction with how the mainstream shop has interpreted the phrase “gender-neutral.” They contend that despite the progressive claims made by these firms, the term “gender-neutral” occasionally appears to be used just as a catchphrase. They continue to create apparel that is more on the macho end of the fashion spectrum, which ignores femininity and feeds the unhealthy need that exists in men to display themselves in a masculine manner.
It is clear how discouraging the repetition of these supposedly gender-neutral collections may be for guys trying to reject their societally prescribed gender stereotypes. These seemingly ineffective initiatives, however, are crucial for any further advancement in the area since they provide a forum for the discussion of truly inclusive gender-neutral apparel. A platform that is sorely required as long as wearing vibrant hues, designs and tones of apparel by males is still seen as making a political or “brave” statement. You can get such clothing items from Shopify alternative free.
The bigger fashion business can only push gender norms and gender performance so far before facing fierce public criticism in a culture that is fixated on masculinity. In essence, we can only advance toward a fashion sector that serves all people by enabling large firms to take the baby steps they, and honestly, we as a community, need to become used to a concept of gender outside of traditional notions. In order to learn how to do anything well, we must give ourselves permission to make errors. Eventually, we must work to build a society in which everyone is free to express themselves freely.