Fashion is increasingly blurring traditional gender boundaries and distinctions.
As mentioned in our Future 100 report, fashion is increasingly blurring traditional gender boundaries and distinctions. Take hip gender-neutral streetwear brand Hood By Air or “loose luxury” label Baja East, which calls its approach “ambisexual.” (There’s even an androgynous clothing subscription service on the way, Greyscale Goods.) Now Selfridges, which has a knack for tapping into cultural trends in clever ways, is planning “Agender,” a two-month project that intends to “sweep aside the boundaries of gender in retail.” Both online and in a three-floor concept space in Selfridges’ flagship London store, customers “can choose to shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes.” Brands will include Nicola Formichetti’s Nicopanda and Underground shoes.
Unisex and androgynous looks for women aren’t new by any means, but as Vogue UK put it recently, “Fashion is moving beyond the straightforward notion of borrowing from the boys towards a freewheeling, fabulously grey area where clothes are gender-neutral.” At the same time, menswear is getting more feminized as more men feel free to depart from once-narrow dress codes. Fragrances too are blurring distinctions more frequently, like Pharrell Williams’ unisex Girl for Comme des Garçons.
More broadly, social views are evolving as people come to understand that gender identity is a complex matter. Last year Facebook added a lengthy menu of gender options for users, as did OkCupid. More countries are starting to legally recognize a third gender, and universities are doing so as well (on the leading edge, the University of Vermont now allows students to choose “neutral” as a gender on school documents). The city of West Hollywood recently banned gender-specific signage on bathrooms. This open-ended view of gender will become mainstream thanks to Millennials—in a recent Fusion poll, half of American Millennials agreed that gender is a spectrum, with some people falling outside the conventional categories.