As we come to the end of Pride Month 2023, the fashion industry has a new buzzword – Gender Fluid Fashion. So what’s next for the Fashion Industry? Can fashion really be gender fluid?
Historically retailers have always focused collections on the binary. From focusing designers, design inspiration and color palettes to using sales signage and categories to direct customers to a gender based shopping area. But who makes the rules? Fashionistas have tended to ignore the labels, lifting pieces from their partners wardrobes and creating trends such as the ‘boyfriend’ jean. The youth male celebrities Jaden Smith and Lil Uzi Vert, sometimes wear skirts or blouses.
Here at Perverse Demand, we didn’t set out to create gender fluid or unisex clothing, in fact, our creative director, Nathan started with menswear in mind. Taking our inspiration from the street and skate scene, we wanted to create high quality comfortable pieces for everyday style. For us the focus was on slow fashion, beautifully crafted and built to last. Timeless wardrobe favorites which feel so good that you never want to wear anything else. During this journey we discovered that everyone is looking for the same thing from their casual wear – comfort and style. Since then we decided not to use binary labels and opened our collections to all.
Sizing is clearly a challenge. There are already more gender specific body shapes and sizes than the average pattern master can handle. Some brands are creating their own size labelling e.g. Unknown Union took the time to create a gender neutral sizing guide that’s a simple range from 0-6. Here at Perverse Demand, we’ve stuck to the more traditional S-XL, however, we added stretch and amended silhouettes to take into account different body shapes and sizes. A good size guide is key, if you can see what body measurements sizes relate to, then this can be applied to all.
Attitude is also a consideration. Whilst generation Z may be happy to break boundaries and forge their own styling norms, a more traditional customer may struggle to identify with a brand who’s imagery and retail experience does not represent what they are used to. Retailers may shy away from putting collections in store unless they are sure who they are aimed at. We, of course, acknowledge that for Perverse Demand the basic shapes of a streetwear and casual wear capsule wardrobe can be naturally gender fluid. Hoodies, t-shirts, and gilets have universal appeal. Equally a good stylist isn’t put off dressing a woman in a man’s shirt, they just dress it to adapt to the personal style of the wearer.
Gender fluid fashion is not about everyone looking the same. It doesn’t take away the joy of having a wardrobe which reflects all the different facets of your life and your style. It’s about taking away the labels and the constraints of choosing only from one section of the store – if you love it, it’s for you!
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