Are brands catering to the rising demand for genderless fashion?
Hyper-creative, genderless non-conforming, and diverse individuals drive high fashion. These individuals use high fashion as a form of self-expression beyond the remit of conventional male-female limits.
This is more than just a trend. Genderless or gender-fluid fashion has a deeper footing that reflects the diversity of self-expression associated with minorities – communities always on the brink of operating outside mainstream fashion. How retailers are/will address this rising demand for genderless high fashion? Read below.
Gender-fluid fashion isn’t a nascent concept: a timeline
Gender nonconformity goes beyond the noughties era. From 1920s Bright Young Things to 1980s Club Kids, all have challenged the mainstream gendered codes through their gender non-binary streetwear and style.
Fast forward to 2020 when Harry Styles, donning a custom Gucci dress, became the first male star to make it to the cover of American Vogue. This marked one of the biggest milestones in setting the tone for high-femme and non-binary direction, which is now associated with Harry Styles.
Although the public has had split opinions. One side has praised Styles for promoting genderless dressing, whereas the other has questioned the pop icon’s credibility as a straight, cis-gendered white man who is now dominating the high fashion industry.
But Harry Styles isn’t the only gender-nonconforming star. Many others have taken charge, including Lil Nas X, Jaden Smith, Cara Delevingne, Billy Porter, and Zendaya.
That said, 90% of people still believe that fashion images don’t reflect a wide spectrum of identities and bodies, whereas 87.5% feel that advertising campaigns, catwalks, and fashion shoots don’t represent them at all.
Gen Z and gender discourse
A deeper cultural shift has taken over the high fashion industry as gender identities are evolving, with the Gen Z population largely dominating the discourse. 41% of Gen Z Vice readers identify as gender-neutral.
Fast forward to 2022, half of the global Gen Z population said they make fashion purchases that sit outside their typical gender identity. It’s also evident from the gender-neutral and genderless online searches in fashion.
Many brands have adopted unisex and gender-neutral philosophies, but independent brands such as Lucy & Yak and Lazy Oaf have been ahead in championing diversity through advertising campaigns, sizes, and models.
Embracing this gender fluidity isn’t only a political statement. It’s also a commercial opportunity for brands that can provide space to fulfill their social responsibility of diversity and inclusion as well as to meet the ever-growing and ever-changing needs of the youngest social group.
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