They would have us believe that gender fluidity is THE new trend, which was recently detected by sociologists. We are not so sure…. what about Coco Chanel and her boyish haircut in the 1920s? Yves Saint Laurent’s trouser suits in the 70s, or Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scottish kilt in the 80s?
The “No Gender” style has always existed in fashion and with it a certain confusion as well as many questions. What is newer is the media coverage of this phenomenon. IFA Paris, as a fashion institute, has in turn questioned itself on this trend, which oscillates between a marketing tool for some and a true philosophy for others.
Fashion is moving away from this male-female distinction to unisex markers that have never been so present. From ready-to-wear (H&M, Zara) to haute couture (John Galliano with Maison Margiela or Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Givenchy), it’s very hard to ignore it.
If many brands have already succumbed to this breeze of “Neutral Gender”, it is because it meets the demand of a fast-changing society. Gender is closely associated with the political, social and economic upheavals of the 20th and 21st centuries, which have changed the most intimate part of human beings: identity. Feminist actions, LGBT demands, the rise of generations X, Y or Z, all communities that have made it possible to open up reflection on the different “self-identities” and questioned codes that have been established for too long. But why should we absolutely want to differentiate individuals by gender?
Clothing is a language with a strong symbolic role, which is also the archetypal form of fighting and ideas. Isn’t the neutral gender finally the allegory of freedom, the right to wear what you want, when you want, whatever the standards?
For economic opportunism, some brands have therefore adapted to the desires of the millennial generation, which wants to place no boundaries between men and women, and claims the right to belong only to the human race – without distinction of any kind. If non-gendered products are based on a societal phenomenon, they is also a marketing tool and a thumbnail to products subject to the so-called “pink tax”. No gender, no taxes, but always business…
Others are committed to supporting an innovative system by breaking down barriers between consumers and clothing as much as possible. Out of conviction, they set out to create neutral rooms for everyone and to desexualize fashion. Exclusively unisex brands that dismantle gender stereotypes. Rad Hourani, VEEA, One DNA among other brands, are working to develop a mindset that tends to go beyond norms, habits, obvious binary representations… and they have their audience!
Whatever the motivations of the end consumer, the “neutral gender” style may not be as neutral as it seems. Is it not simply the result of a desire to belong to an identity that is not a source of concern? Confidential brands and designers only respond to this very real consumer demand…