Saturday, 3 June 2017

Gender Neutral Clothing: The Final Frontier?

Over the past few years, some high-profile decisions to pursue a gender-neutral approach to fashion design, classification and marketing have brought this term onto the radar of many. Gender neutrality in fashion is more than a trend, it's a lens through which everyone from designers to advertisers can view their clothing, and a statement of millennial commitment to banishing the old fashioned 'pink for girls' 'blue for boys' mantra that simply no longer applies.

Gender neutral fashion isn't new, but its appearance in the fashion mainstream has happened fairly recently. In the 90s, female rapper sand hip-hop artists began wearing clothes intended for men, and styled them for themselves. Before that, male singers challenging the norms of masculinity wore women's clothing, even makeup, as part of their performance. At the time, these transgressions were press-worthy and even stage-worthy, reflecting a society that still promoted normative gender appearance for the masses (although the catwalks and icons of the time may have told a different story).

In recent times however, brands such as Selfridges and H&M have tried out this approach - H&M with a unisex denim line (you can no longer call them 'boyfriend jeans!') and Selfridges with teir'Agender' pop-up store in 2015 and this effect is sure to trickle down over the coming years until androgynous clothing becomes the new normal.

As Vogue explains, Gender Neutral dressing is no longer a provocative or headline-catching act, simply because we have broken down the taboos of gender-specific fashion to such a point. Hip hop artists wearing skirts, women dressed in tailored suits, we are difficult to ruffle these days, sartorially-speaking.

So why bother to embrace Gender Neutrality in clothing? Because it's not about the fashion anymore, it's simply about comfort, confidence and making a subtle statement that's more important than style -  but about having the self-possession to present yourself exactly as you want to.


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