It appears that gender is no longer in fashion. As the reality of non-binary individuals becomes more and more accepted in the mainstream, lines between men’s fashion and women’s fashion are becoming more blurred. Both corporate brands and independent designers are creating gender-neutral collections that can appeal to all consumers. Even major department stores are no longer organizing and marketing their products according to gender-specific labels. Whether or not this is a fleeting trend in fashion is yet to be seen, but there is no denying the fact that society is evolving, so why shouldn’t fashion?
Cover Girl/Cover Boy
At 17 years old, high school senior James Charles is making history. James is the first-ever male ambassador for CoverGirl. James, a makeup artist, caught the brand’s attention through his popular Instagram page, which has over 400,000 followers, and his YouTube page, which has 147,000 subscribers. He is now launching the So Lashy mascara line, and even shot a commercial alongside Katy Perry. Charles is promoting “lash equality”, meaning that the product can be used by any gender. Through this line, Cover Girl is embracing the fact that makeup is becoming more and more a “genderless concept.”
This January, Abercrombie & Fitch launched its first ever gender-neutral clothing line called the “Everybody Collection.” The line was released through the company’s Abercrombie Kids division, and is for children 5-14. It features 25 styles of tops, bottoms, and accessories. It includes hoodies, long-sleeve T-shirts, camouflage bomber jackets, and crew neck sweatshirts, that can be appealing to any gender. The inspiration behind the line was based on feedback from customers who felt that gender-specific children’s clothing was too limiting when it came to colors and styles. This line offers styles based on trends that are appealing to all genders
Aisles For Everyone
Last year, mega-retailer Target made its first step toward making the franchise more gender inclusive by keeping its toy, home, and entertainment departments gender-neutral. For years the aisles have been separated and color-coded: pink for the girls files, filled with things like Barbies and tiaras, and blue for the boys, with cars and superheroes. Now the toys are simply organized according to the type of products. They then released Pillowfort, a kids’ bedding and decor collection that still offers styles in gender specific colors like pink and blue, but also offers plenty of gender neutral color motifs.
Unisex His And Hers
Inspired by recent cultural shifts, the clothing brand Guess has released its own unisex clothing line called His + Hers. Using a “single neutral aesthetic” as inspiration behind the line, His + Hers combines elements that are considered traditionally feminine, like velvet, with elements that are traditionally masculine, such as biker jackets, and offers them in monochromatic and neutral tones. According to Guess CEO Victor Herrero, the shift to gender neutral fashion represents an evolution in society itself. “The idea is very progressive and it’s exciting to be a part of it,” says Herrero. The line offers a variety of options, from T-shirts to outerwear.
Instagram star and model Madison Paige has quickly been gaining fame for her androgynous beauty and musical talents. She’s recently teamed up with Photo/Genics Media to launch a gender neutral clothing line. There are five gender fluid pieces in the Photo/Genics + Co x Madison Paige line: three oversize T-shirts, a snapback, and a lighter necklace. All the pieces are inspired by Paige’s personal tattoos and song lyrics. Each of the pieces are oversized to fit any gender’s body type. For Paige, being gender fluid means ridding herself of any gender labels and be comfortable in her own skin, and that is the inspiration behind her designs.
Actress, model, and activist Jaime King has partnered up with designer Kristin Nystrom of the children’s clothing retailer Gardner and the Gang to create a gender-neutral children’s clothing line. Their goal is to teach children early on that they don’t have to conform to any gender-specific roles, thus enabling them to freely express themselves. The line consists of not only patterns that are gender fluid, but also dresses that boys can wear as well. The topic is close to King’s heart because she has a number of friends who have children who are transgender, and has witnessed the struggles they go through on a daily basis.
Blurring The Lines
The creator of the Los Angeles based, gender-neutral clothing brand 69 has chosen to keep their gender identity a secret in order to “embody the idea of a genderless non-demographic brand.” The line consists of cocoon dresses and tunics in cotton, linen, and denim modeled by both men and women. Celebrities like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner have been seen wearing the fashions. The line is sold in New York, in stores that carry both women and men’s fashions, and LA, though mostly in women’s clothing stores. Despite the latter fact, the owner claims that the brand is also popular among men.
Ahead Of The Game
Canadian retailer Muttonhead was ahead of its time when it started selling unisex sportswear back in 2009. The flagship store, located in Toronto, isn’t separated into gender-based sections; everything in the store is for everyone. It’s just recently launched a children’s line called Lil’ Mutts, that was inspired by its most successful adult pieces. The theme is comfort, with offerings items like sweatpants, crewneck sweaters, beanies and onesies in gender neutral colors, such as grey, orange, and red. The line claims that the clothing is not just “boy-inspired” but rather created for “all genders.”
In 2015, the British department store chain Selfridges decided to merge its men’s and women’s departments and launch five new unisex collections, as well as 40 existing brands that could be worn by any gender. It also removed all the mannequins from the windows in order to create a shopping experience they call “Agender.” The idea was to create “an environment in which you are given the freedom to transcend notions of ‘his’ and ‘hers’, as you simply find your most desired item by color, fit and style.” The store is also designed in the shape of a house to create a home-like feel.
Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is
The goal of the creators of Austin based independent clothing brand FLAVNT Streetwear was to not only create a clothing line that appeals to all genders, but to actively support the LGBTQ+ community. Through their clothing, they hope to inspire pride, confidence, and self-love. And not only do they do so through their styles, but they also spearhead a number of fundraisers that help people within the LGBTQ+ community, such as raising funds to help pay for transition surgeries. They have donated to eight different people thus far, and are working on their ninth fundraiser.
Due Date Coming Soon
Vanessa Newman always knew she would eventually want kids. When she was 16, Newman, who identifies as a masculine-presenting queer, started contemplating what she would possibly wear during her pregnancy. Thus, her concept for Butchbaby & Co. was born: a maternity clothing line for masculine, transgender, and queer parents, or what she refers to as “alternity.” Two years later she pitched her idea at an LGBT innovation conference at the White House, and it was a hit. In 2015, she recruited a design partner and began a line that was the first of its kind. The launch date is still TBD.
Two Good Sisters
British sisters Faye and Erica Toogood decided to team together to create a gender-neutral outerwear called Toogood London. (Faye is originally an interior designer by trade and designed the retail space for Selfridges.) The idea behind the line was to create winter outerwear that would keep the wearer warm, while still looking fashionable. The style is “both practical and sculptural.” Moreover, “Each garment takes inspiration from traditional workwear, transforming the idea of a uniform into a mark of individuality.” The collection includes long coats, a variety of textures, and multiple layers that can be worn by any gender.
Wearable Fluid Art
The clothing collections from the brand NotEqual is composed of designs with bold lines, colors, and patterns that are meant to be genderless. The brand’s goal is to promote individuality and “push boundaries while offering rational fashion.” The brand’s founder is Fabio Costa, who was the runner-up of “Project Runway” Season 10. His brand is separated into seven different collections. Many of the styles include large wrap skirts, open dresses, and large shirts. The brand aims to “challenge common concepts of identity through questioning gender, culture, and modernity” and encourages the wearer to be their authentic self.
Most people tend to consider suits to be menswear. Leon Wu decided to change that perception with his company Sharpe Suiting. As a transgender male, Wu and many of his transgender friends had difficulty finding suits that fit their body types. Sharpe Suiting creates custom suits,blazers, shirts and other professional wear for all body types and gender identities. Customers can either personally customize their suit by choosing the fabric, buttons, trim, and other details, or answer a series of questions about their body type and the clothes that they wear, and the company then designs the suit for them.
Canadian designer Rad Hourani has created an elegant, high-end unisex collection comprised of simple and sleek designs that can be worn by all genders, including skirts, pants, accessories and outerwear, and the majority of the pieces are black and white. Launched in January of 2014, his line was the first unisex collection to be shown in couture. He describes his designs “an attentive study of the human body that celebrates neutrality as a defining human trait.” He is also a photographer and artist and uses the theme of gender neutrality in all of his mediums.
Shirts Without The Extras
VEEA Androgynous offers “high-end menswear fashion made to fit women.” The concept was inspired by what the creators felt was a lack of designs in women’s departments that androgynous individuals could connect to. VEEA creates “clothing that you can wear and feel like ‘you’ without compromising design, style, and aesthetics.” It includes button-down shirts that don’t have any cleavage cuts, and are not tight or tapered around the waist or hips. They are simply made to fit and can be tailored or loose-fitting. The designs are simple and lack flash, and while they do offer shirts in pink and blue, are neither ultra feminine or masculine.
Freedom Of Expression
The founders of Gender Free World (GFW) wanted to create a line that was the anti “one-size-fits-all” model. They “passionately believe that what we have in our pants has disproportionately restricted the access to choice of clothing on the high street and online.” They offer clothing in bold colors, interesting or fun fabrics that can appeal to all genders and can fit all body types. They use four body type templates, taking into account larger and smaller busts, thin or wide hips, board shoulder or narrow frames. They aim to include five values in their designs and marketing campaign: freedom, equality, gender diversity, quality, and fairness.
The design duo behind TILLYAndWILLIAm, Jessica Lapdios and Tom Barranca, intended to create a gender-neutral clothing collection that emphasized comfort and could be worn by a number of different body types. Wanting to establish a line that “could transform with each different wearer”, each garment they offer could be worn in various ways. Tired of fashion having to choose between for and function, they wanted “to allow its wearer full movement of their body.” The brand tends to target the queer community, with the intention of providing the wearer a sense of freedom from labels. All of their products are manufactured locally.
Embracing the current times and trends of today’s society, H&M launched a gender-neutral denim line last year called Denim United. The collection currently includes 19 pieces, such as overalls, oversized tunics, long chambray shirt-dresses, capri shorts, neutral colored hoodies, shorts and large jackets with the distressed look, all wearable by any gender. H&M spokesperson Marybeth Schmitt believed that the decision to launch the line was a natural next step for the brand, as “fashion is constantly evolving and intersecting and today we see there are no boundaries in democratic style…Fashion should always be inclusive.”
Made For All
The New York City-based One DNA is a designer label that offers unisex “clothing without boundaries,” made for “all genders, all ages, all shapes, all races.” Their objective is to tear down any barriers that exist between womenswear and menswear “without sacrificing style.” Most of the clothing’s fit is oversized and is made to work with all body types, including a pullover tunic in black or white, a cropped crew-neck tee in blue stripes or ivory, and an oversized drawstring hoodie in pink, red, bone or blue jean. The style is casual and classic, and targeted to a mass audience rather than only fashionistas.