We’re undergoing some pretty big changes in fashion this year. More and more fashion shows have swapped the physical runways for digital showcases, and London Fashion Week recently announced that it was going gender neutral.
This comes at a time where more attention is being paid towards inclusivity. More brands have also taken a shift towards gender neutral clothing -- which refers to clothing that is not gender-specific and can be for people of any gender. This idea may be a new concept, but it has been referred to since the 1960s as “unisex”.
At a time when the younger consumers are more focused on issues relating to social and environmental justice, its hard trying to overlook such pertinent issues in fashion today.
Ahead, check out the emerging and established brands out today that are validating queer and gender-fluid customer with their gender neutral collections.
Marc Jacobs — Heaven
Marc Jacobs is the latest to give us a take on the future with his new collection, "HEAVEN" a polysexual collection consisting of a whimsical infusion of streetwear essentials and collectibles.
"HEAVEN draws upon the origins of the Marc Jacobs impulse: subversion, teenage daydreams, alienation nation, queer youth, toxic shock valley girls, candy ravers, apocalypse sugar, psychedelic fantasia, girls who are boys and boys who are girls, those who are neither, negative space, day-glo dystopia, suburban euphoria and the multifaceted characters who have made up the Marc Jacobs universe for the past 30 years.
HEAVEN centers the D.I.Y. spirit that connects subcultures around the world and recontextualizes them for a new generation," the brand states on its instagram.
The collection pays tribute to notable queer figures and influences, such as queer pioneer Gregg Araki, the street style microculture of FRUiTS magazine, the plushy sculptures of Mike Kelley and the shifting identities of Cindy Sherman.
A celebration of personal style and self expression,the campaign and lookbook reflected this sentiment, with friends of the brand who intepreted and styled the clothes in their own way. It features up and coming talents, including Iris Law, Jyrrel Roberts, Vegyn, Lily McMenamy, and more.
Stella McCartney — Shared
Luxury British fashion house Stella McCartney has always shared values rooted in activism - the luxury label was one of the first to use vegan leather, and famously worked with anti-consumerist activist group Extinction Rebellion in a campaign earlier last year.
And now, the label has come with its first genderless collection. Titled “Shared”, the capsule collection is geared towards anyone and everyone who wants to wear their clothing, dispelling old notions of a target market, and opening up conversations about fluidity in fashion. Certainly a move that upholds the designer’s activist values while celebrating positivity and diversity.
The collection consists of streetwear influenced styles that are bold and wearable, remixing iconic pieces such as a suit and trench and puffer jackets into playful and bold styles. Additionally, all jersey t-shirts and sweatshirts are made from 100% organic cotton, which uses 70% less water than its conventional counterparts, with no toxic chemicals or pesticides. Other materials, such as recycled polyester were used for the collection’s parkas.
The collection is available at Stella McCartney stores in Singapore.
Founded by designer Telfar Clemens in 2002, the New York label was made popular by its Telfar bag, affectionately coined the “bushwick birkin,” quickly becoming an it fashion accessory that was helmed for its affordability and practicality.
But the black, queer designer did not design the bag for a specific person in mind. He creates genderless products that are “not for you” but “for everyone”, keeping an inclusive message central to his brand.
Similarly, the label's garments consist of minimal and well crafted basics, combined with a deep street sensibility, keeping true to Clemen’s New York roots. Functional and affordable, the brand, which was awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2017, was made for everyone regardless of their gender, race or background.
Ekhaus Latta designer Mike Eckhaus once explained in an interview: “we relate to gender identity a little less aggressively. It’s less binary and I think that’s something we have always felt attuned to.”
Since launching their experimental, gender neutral brand in 2011, Eckhaus and Zoe Latta have won over the fashion industry with their beauty garments that lack gender specificity, season after season. They have never done an individual women or men’s collection or show, and their e-commerce site is categorised by garment instead of gender.
The New York and Los Angeles-based label were also one of the first to pioneer to casting of ‘non-models’ in their shows, spanning across gender, age and size - largely made of their close friends, family or anyone with a “magnetic” energy, certainly speaking true to their values relating to inclusivity and a real sense of community.