Following current cultural and behavioural shifts our society has been experiencing, gender-neutral fashion is an imminent concept. Therefore, several brands worldwide have been changing the way they see fashion in order to fulfill customers’ demands. The urge in transforming this multi-billion dollar industry is the main reason why 2022 has everything to be the year of gender-fluid fashion.
Gender-fluid fashion was a very recurrent theme at last year’s major Fashion Weeks. During London Fashion Week last September, a particular name caught everyone’s attention: Harris Reed, the non-binary designer behind his homonymous brand who has become very popular for dressing Harry Styles in romantic looks and even in a ball gown for Vogue’s cover. To Harris, their main mission is to explore the non-binary identity, or in their own words “I fight for the beauty of fluidity. I fight for a more opulent and accepting world”. The same idea seems to be in everyone’s mind and 2022 is definitely the year of gender-fluid fashion.
The history of gender-neutral clothing goes a long way back, as, according to Carolina Stevenson, head of cultural and historical studies at the London College of Fashion, “clothing was not always split along gender lines”. But, throughout history, there has never been a better moment to explore gender identity than the current days. From people who don’t recognize themselves as neither male nor female, to people who consider themselves both male and female, more and more personalities have been rejecting the binary convention long ago established by society. Even the Council of Fashion Designers in America recently added to New York Fashion Week, an official ‘unisex/non-binary’ category. Again according to Stevenson, “if society is no longer organized around a gender binary, we no longer need these distinctive categories” in fashion.
Back in time, genderless clothing was thought to be those boxy, shapeless garments in neutral colours. Nowadays, a gender-fluid approach to fashion could mean more interesting, vibrant, flexible, and expressive garments. That’s because Gen-Z members are shifting cultural norms to become much more open to gender fluidity than previous generations. According to the founder of gender-free fashion brand “The Phluid Project”, Rob Smith, in 2019, 56% of Gen-Z people “were already shopping ‘outside their assigned gender area'”. Moreover, Lyst shopping platform identified that “overall searches involving ‘agender-related keywords’ […] have increased by around 33% in 2021”.
Several global brands have already started to go gender-neutral, and others are expected to join the hype pretty soon. In the vision of Erin Schmidt, Senior Analyst at Coresight Research, “retailers and brands should be looking at gender-fluid apparel as an opportunity… it will definitely be impacting the fashion trends of the future”.Besides, labels such as Pangaia, Adidas, Nique, and Stride have started to design gender-neutral sizes and collections. Most recently, the Balmain X Barbie collab is just the perfect example of why 2022 is the year of gender fluidity. Balmain’s Creative Director Olivier Rousteing stated that this collaboration is a “unisex collection […] that breaks boundaries”.
In Canada, designers embracing non-binary collections include Mic Carter – Toronto fashion designer of L’Uomo Strano -, Muttonhead – Toronto-based label which offers gender-neutral pieces for all ages -, Pley – a Vancouver-based children’s clothing brand investing in gender-neutral colours -, Shop Take Care – Winnipeg-based and pre-used store which offers gender-inclusive pieces -, House of Dwir – Torontonian genderless fashion brand -, Spender Badu – which creates unisex designs since 2015 -, Cassandra Elizabeth – etically made Toronto store offering genderless clothing -, and Visus – streetwear brand launching a gender-neutral capsule collection.
The increasingly fast advances in technology as well as the absolute spread of social media and virtual communities have been a huge contributor factor to make 2022 the year of gender-fluid fashion. To exemplify, the #nonbinaryfashion has over 6 million views, while the #unisexfashion has more than 10 million views.
Published by HOLR Magazine.