A couple of years ago androgyny became known in the real world as an actual mind state, primarily expressed through clothing choices but definitely not limited to it. Fashion picked it up, perhaps even ‘defined’ it and the media started to run more features with ‘androgyny’ in. London Fashion Week 2015 was for me the ‘don’t tear up the rule book, light the match and let it burn’ year, maybe this was because I was looking for inspiration or acceptance of outfit choices. Anyway, it was the first time that stood out for me when designers had chosen more androgynous-looking models and created genderless looks on the catwalk. In early 16’ Jaden Smith did a wonderfully queer shoot for Vogue Korea and slayed.
All products start as ideas and all ideas usually begin as inspiration. Need, wants and desires coupled with inspiration have the ability to enter the market and compete. Product designs are drawn and created, trends start forming and genius is shown off on the preferred platform for the industry. the fashion worlds platform of choice, catwalks. The watered-down, softer versions hit the streets, we love it and our wallets well, not so much . So, 2015 was the year where gender fluidity and unisex clothing were here by force and I was ready. Next season – come at me bro. No longer would I have to skulk into the menswear department which is never on the ground floor so, I have to traipse up or down stairs when I need to try the fucking thing on. (Top Tip: between me and you, when I’m feeling particularly brave I use the mens’ because there is literally never a que).
Next season came, oh yes and everyone just relax because Zara had it ‘covered’.
Now Zara, darling, some people were excited when you announced the release of an online ungendered-trf collection. It consisted of … (drum roll please) … sweatpants, really, I got stoked for something that if we are honest already existed. Having said this kudos on stepping outside the comfort zone, with something that probably elicited eye rolling. Yet, we are now in 2017 and I’m still skulking around changing rooms – stop it, not like that.
Gender-Neutral clothing is difficult to design because of human physiology. We have different shapes, the differences between male and female being clear. Thank-you evolution I love my child-bearing hips, been super useful to me so far. Talented creatives have proved although it may be difficult and have unique challenges it is not impossible.
Genderless clothing, unisex, gender-fluid, androgynous, human, whatever you wish to call it clothes for either sex or any gender is pretty niche market. There are a fair few smaller clothing labels doing genderless clothing spot on but how come high street fashion labels are not really designing every day collections each season, apart from you, Zara. (I am totally over it, mainly because of the ALF tee admittedly).
Abandonship Apparel based in Scotland design their clothes for humans and the fit of their tees are spot on. An Instagram post with the caption ‘everything we make is unisex. We don’t tell you how to wear our clothes, we just want you to enjoy them’ tells you a lot about how they roll. I’ve stumbled across other amazing androgynous clothing lines including; Androswag (Melbourne, androgynous and genderless apparel), Wildfang (Portland, culture for the modern feminist), rodeoH (San Francisco, for all your boxer needs) and Androgynous Fox (San Francisco, also androgynous apparel and with taglines such as ‘take notes boys’ they are pretty irresistible.) It’s not just about providing unisex clothing for these brands but underlying them seems to be a powerful ‘you are not alone’ mentality.
So, it turns out my excitement for genderless clothing in the UK was a tad premature, and I don’t have a house to re-mortgage to pay the US shipping fees.
Its ok, I’ll wait patiently. Beers’ still cold, I’ve got time.
Instagram was where I first felt free and secure to express myself, like legit*, because not many people I knew personally followed me. I began following fashion labels, designers, androgynous figures, gender-related blogs and loved what I found. People pushing thought boundaries and putting their ideas out there. Hashtags such as #girlswholooklikeboys #genderbender #thisandrogynouslife made me feel, in a way, just a little bit lighter. Facebook felt too cluttered and Instagram was a place to breathe and quite frankly still is.
This scattered post of badly worded and jumbled thoughts started of primarily about style. YOUR style, not what you should and should wear for your ‘body shape’, Cosmo looking at you here pal. Fashion shouldn’t be about sexuality or gender it should be about you feeling sharp as fuck and walking every street like a catwalk.
*also made me pretty street, #justsaying
Independent labels mentioned, check em’ out:
Vivienne Westwood had a blog piece titled ‘unisex is good for the environment’, you already know you want to read it: http://www.viviennewestwood.com/en-gb/blog/“unisex-good-environment”