Genderless Fashion – Potential for Growth in 2021/22?

What is Genderless Fashion?

Genderless or gender-neutral fashion has become an increasingly prominent topic over the last few years within the fashion industry. Branching off from the more commonly seen unisex fashion – the idea of genderless fashion focuses on being inclusive of every gender identity with clothing that does not compromise on any aspect.

Unisex fashion more frequently features garments that give off more of an androgynous vibe – simple silhouettes, neutral colour palettes, oversized shapes and more basic items that either men, women or gender-neutral individuals could rock.

However, unisex fashion can sometimes disregard the fact that men may want to wear dresses or heels that fit them, women may want tailored trousers that are not shaped to be stereotypically ‘feminine’ as usual within womenswear sections, and gender-neutral people may not want to only wear basic items!

Genderless fashion, therefore, aims to cater to growing desires for more adventurous and inclusive fashion, bolder choices for men and women as well as a whole range of gender identities that are classified under the gender-neutral umbrella term.

Current exploration

Brands from all different market levels have started to cater towards the genderless ‘trend’ or movement within society – as the need for representation and an inclusive environment within the industry grows.

One of the most notable accounts within the last year was the 2020 shoot from Vogue featuring Harry Styles as the first man to ever appear on the front cover and doing so in a dress!

Vogue collaborated with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele who provided the dresses for Styles to wear.

This shoot caused extreme controversy when it was released – with many fans extremely excited and proud of Styles for promoting the acceptance of men in unconventional clothing (that does not fit into the stereotypically masculine ideal) at this level.

Yet, there were still many critics of this choice – individuals questioning why it was necessary and some even behaving in a derogatory manner. This reaction served as a reminder that whilst there is a call for genderless fashion (especially from the gender-neutral minority) a high percentage of the western population do not feel the same way.

ASOS brand Collusion has also become a huge player within the gender-neutral market within recent years – and in an interview with one of their creatives, she explained how Collusion views gender as something that people should not be scared to explore further.

Collusion’s whole ideology is that you should be the most authentically you – and their current collection focuses on neutral pieces with bold colours for everyone. However, there is still more the brand could work on in regards to moving away from the unisex box, as they still have multiple items within the collection labelled as only for ‘men’ and ‘women.’

Next steps

There is a lot of potential for growth for the genderless fashion movement. Possible next steps for growing genderless fashion into a more mainstream ideology for brands and individuals is to start incorporating neutrality into more and more things.

The idea of only 2 gender categories is outdated, and many people do not fit into these or simply want to have more freedom of expression outside of their categories! In order to challenge this, as individuals we can alter our mindsets so that we do not hold the same stereotypes as we may currently have so that we are being more inclusive to minority groups.

This might include stepping outside your comfort zone and shopping in a gender category that you may not usually shop in, as the potential to find something you like is actually quite high. Normalising this would be one step closer to the progression of a genderless society.

Obviously, if you are a woman that loves to dress femininely, then do not stop on anyone’s account. As the idea of genderless fashion is to create a more labelless industry – you can still wear whatever you choose, there just would not be as many harsh restrictions as there are currently!

Brands can build on their current efforts – with transitions from men’s and women’s fashion week to simply 2 seasonal showcases (as many brands including Gucci and Burberry are already doing).

Mainstream marketing

As well as the tips noted already, things that can be adapted in terms of marketing in order to create more mainstream representation would be to utilise a range of gendered models when promoting collections, this is a way that every brand can get involved with the movement even if they do not want to completely adapt and it also makes gender-neutral individuals feel seen as well as making it more socially acceptable for men and women to wear things that are stereotypically less masculine or feminine.

Brands such as Rick Owens already do this, and this creates an androgynous feel even if the garment does not have any signifiers that it is genderless or Unisex.

Genderless fashion has the potential to change the way we view the industry as a whole, and by incorporating ideas such as the ones suggested we can make fashion even more diverse by growing freedom through self-expression!

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