Blurred lines: generation gender neutral

Ellie Parkin looks at the progression of gendered fashion and speculates what the future may hold.

Ellie Parkin
1st December 2019
Peak px creative commons
In this so-called fashion-forward age, unfortunately, a lot of socio-historical concepts are still universally prevalent. So as gender-neutral fashion finally makes its way into the mainstream, its about time we all got used to it.

As a society, we need to prioritise what gender-neutral people want, and need, and make sure that is what spearheads fashion campaigns driving forward. As clothes are the most important mode of self-expression, so let’s not allow out-dated ideas about social conformity stop us. More and more stores are stocking gender-neutral brands such as the Collusion range at ASOS, the Eytys and H&M collaboration, the UNGENDERED range at Zara, as well as many more. As we all know the world of fashion, is an ever-changing one. So the concept of gender-neutral fashion is slightly late on arrival for me, as isn’t the concept of fashion retail to be inclusive? Yet the breakthrough moment for gender-neutral fashion only really smashed the glass ceiling this year.

@boygeorgeofficial on Instagram

David Bowie and Boy George kickstarting the high-profile media attention for gender-neutral coverage

I would say that there has always been gender fluidity in the fashion industry, with individuals like David Bowie and Boy George kickstarting the high-profile media attention for gender-neutral coverage. You also have more recent examples, such as Ruby Rose, Jaden Smith and Sam Smith (just to name a few). And so, the idea that there can now be a positive, and equal, clothing range that does not have any ties to gender, is a wonderful thing.

As we have constructed cultural roadblock on particular items surrounding ‘male’ and ‘female’ identities, such like the idea that jeans are a universally accepted gender-neutral item, yet skits don’t get the same treatment. It’s negative constructions like these that prevent any progress being made. As our bodies don’t always fit into these existing style categories, therefore, we need to create new criteria to promote the quality of this campaign and break up this fixed masculine and feminine gender ideologies.

“For some, fashion can be an extension of the self, or a way to (re)invent yourself. A style of dress can be a visual manifestation of where one stands, colored by history, culture, emotions and politics. Or it can be an attempt to create a state where the gap between one’s body and one’s inner life feels the smallest.”

Source: Charmaine Li for Ignant Online.

As in an ideal world, gender-neutral fashion will stand alongside girls and boy’s clothes, so the androgynous clothing can be equally advertised for children who do not conform to one gender or identify as intersexed. As would it not be wrong for a child to feel forced into selecting clothes from a gender category which they do not have any affiliation to? This projection can only be hoped for in the future as gender-neutral fashion continues is the mainstream.

We are most certainly on the right track when it comes to inclusivity in the fashion industry

@imezramiller on Instagram

We are most certainly on the right track when it comes to inclusivity in the fashion industry, but there's still work to be done. Of course, the industry is always searching for new trends to keep modernising itself. So ultimately, let’s hope they use this platform as a spearhead for future inclusivity campaigns.

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