We are truly entering a world where binaries, that once determined personality, action, expression and beauty, are being left behind.
Agender clothing is providing an absolute feast in the fashion industry. On the runway we are seeing men and women (cisgender, transgender, genderfluid – the whole umbrella) flaunting threads that blur all lines between masculine and feminine [2]. And now, fashion, being the huge influence it is on consumer culture, is reaching into retail and consumer-ready street-wear, and is calling for the push to send gender based clothes packing.
However, will it take off well with the general populace of, at least, Westernized countries?

W'lfg'ng Jackets worn in 'Open', a unisex showcase, 2015

W’lfg’ng Jackets worn in ‘Open’, a unisex showcase, 2015

The answer to the first question is perhaps. It is true that we are already seeing easily accessible clothing brands like Target begin to instate gender neutrality for certain children’s products (like toys, bedding and entertainment), but what’s the response like? Reports from USA Today news state that reactions are varied far and wide. Consumers are using social media to share their satisfaction and their spite towards Target for making the call.
For example, John Wilson on Facebook had to say, “This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl…and products are specifically made for each.” [1]
But many are supporting the change, declaring that children and parents alike will now no longer feel pressures to associate gender (identity) or sex with quilt covers or their favourite toy. [1]

Example of gender labeling Target will be changing.

Example of gender labeling Target will be changing.

And there’s, of course, more retailers than just Target that are taking the initiative. A small chain of high-end retailers has created a space where gender has no place in your clothing-buying experience.
Their new ‘pop up’ store, Agender, is the petit beginning to a future where masculine and feminine is no longer defined by the clothes you wear. Their approach more subtle than simply swapping the gender roles, too, they’re not just wrapping men up in dresses and having women wear suits. The Agender line tailors gender-neutral clothing to the physicality of men and women alike. [3]

 

 

Personally, I feel like gender neutrality in consumer clothing is a big ask. Do I think it’s possible? Of course; but we have been dressing in binary coded threads for hundreds of years, and the change won’t be sudden, by any means. But if we can have clothes that allow us to express ourselves without assuming identity, personality, sexuality or any element of someone else, now is definitely the time to begin.

 

Calfas, Jennifer. 2015. Target to Remove Gender Based Labeling” Usa Today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/08/09/target-remove-gender-based-labeling/31375863/ Last modified 09 August, 2015.

Mellery-Pratt, Robin. 2015. “Will Genderless Fashion Change Retail?” The Business of Fashion http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/will-genderless-fashion-work-retail Last modified 26 February, 2015.

Tsjeng, Zing. 2015. “Inside Selfridges’ Radical, Gender-Neutral Department Store” Dazed. http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/24088/1/inside-selfridges-radical-gender-neutral-department-store Last modified April, 2015.

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