Gender-neutral styles have cycled in-and-out of high-end fashion for decades, but in recent years androgyny has gone mainstream. In London, popular clothing chain Selfridges recently launched “Agender,” a gender-neutral collection that spans three floors of its flagship Oxford Street store. Here in Toronto, there are a handful of brick-and-mortar and online shops that carry unisex clothing and accessories, including Parloque, Muttonhead and our friends, Future is the Future.
What these trendy retailers have in common are loyal consumers who embrace a gender-free way of dressing. And according to one Toronto fashion insider, that customer base will likely get bigger. “Gender-neutral fashions will be something that is more enduring,” said Marilyn McNeil-Morin, chair of fashion studies at Toronto’s George Brown College. She believes the gender-bending style, with non-body conscious cuts designed to complement anybody’s figure, will be more than just a fleeting fascination. She predicts it will become a lasting style.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of it, and it’s going to last because it’s very wearable and practical,” adding that the terms gender-neutral, unisex and androgyny are interchangeable. “When it was done before, it was done specifically for women,” she explained, referring to the androgynous look where traditional male clothing was cut to fit a woman’s curves. “But what we we’re seeing now is the same piece can be worn by men or women.”
That crossover, however, may pose a challenge to some designers, who may have relied on traditional gender-based sizing in the past to construct their pieces. But McNeil-Morin says this hurdle provides an opportunity for creativity. “I’ve seen some designers approach it using more flowing kinds of pieces where the fit is less of an issue, so it can be worn by a man or a woman,” she said.
“We think the wearer should decide the gender of the piece, rather than the piece itself,” says designer Miah Mills. “It’s the person who makes the person, not the clothing or what they wear.”
What are your thoughts on unisex one-size-fits all clothing? It’s Let Rebena know in the comment box below!