One Style Fits All
Hemlines are high this season, so guys might want to tone up those calves. Meanwhile, chunky high - tops are seeing a revival, so women will want to stock up on athletic socks.
If you've been anywhere near a fashion magazine over the last few months, you'll know what we mean. The headlining fashion trend for spring/summer will not emerge in menswears or womenswear, in fact, we're told from somewhere in between. Brands ranging from Gucci to Kanye Wesy's streetwear label, Yeezy, are set to launch collections for 2016 - 2017 that are being called genderfluid.
Vogue, never one to miss on a trend, is gushing about how "athletic midriff-baring tops" speak "to the ambisexual vibe - reverberating in menswear," while Dazed & Confused is so consumed by the "pussy-bow blouses, shrunken knits, and peekaboo lace" hitting menswear shelves that it suggested that industry fashion weeks should simply go coed. Reveling in the erosion of conventional boundaries, Kanye himself rocking a leather Givenchy skirt, which oddly managed to look more macho than Russel Crowe in Gladiator.
Historically, unisex clothing landed toward something seemingly inspired by the Chinese Communist Party pantsuit circa 1949, which boils down to everyone looking like a man ( a style rarely seen today, except during Pyongyang Fashion Week). The sightly more glamorous sibling of unisex is androgyny, which has flared up within various pop-cultural movements over the years - with the fills and flounce of the 1980s New Romantics, and the sexual ambiguity of mascara-smeared emo kids in the dying days of the 20th century. Today, however, the spirit in which fashionistos and fashionistas are blurring the gender lining is moving away from shock value and toward a collective shrug. Boy George is fast becoming the boy next door.
This trend, rather than being driven by the fashion - industrial complex, appears to be arising at least in part from a genuine shift in social attitudes. "millennials and, in particular, Generation Z don't see traditional gender roles and sexuality definitions as relevant to how they construct their identities," says Lucie Greene, worldwide Innovation Group director for the marketing and communications firm J. Walter Thompson.
As society has become more comfortable with the likes of Laverne Cox, it has gotten tougher to find a hot designer who is not bucking his-and-hers conventions. As Greene has observed, there's "a whole slew of gender-less labels cropping up." These include Hood by Air and Public School, two brands (that we might are our favorites here at HYW) that have helped carve out a whole new athleisure market by appealing to both genders, without overtly marketing to either one. The savvy UK department store chain Selfridges, meanwhile, recently opened a "gender - neutral" pop-up zone across three floors of it's Oxford Street flagship, debuting scores of unisex collections.
Public School Feb/March 2016 Complex Magazine Feature
Hood By Air Spring 2015 NYFW
Joining the movement, if not establishing their own innovative upstart is the New York based 1.61, whose slogan is "Utilitarian. Uniform. Unisex." The company makes rarefied casual-wear outfits, including plain shirts and matching (or mix-matching) drawstring pants, each season expressing eye catching color palettes. With a marketing strategy that seems to be pegged to the idea that men and women are equally inclined to shell out a thousand bucks for an outfit you'd wear while reading the Sunday paper, the overpriced , understated.
On this side, at the wiggly - finger end of the spectrum is the Los Angles based 69 worldwide, a "non-gender, non-demographic" denim brand whose signature look is a marquee-like stonewashed onsie. The company's cavernous unisex dresses would scream boho chic if worn by Zooey Deschanel, or "I've come to paint your house" if sworn by someone , well, slightly burlier. Their website is one of a kind and we are totally obsessed!
Both 1.61 and 69 Worldwide represent what Emily Anatole, co - author of a recent Cassandra Report trend study into Generation Z consumer habits, believes is the future of fashion; totally gender-less clothing that can be worn in different ways or tweaked by both sexes, "almost in the way that the school uniform is."
With the industry evolving so rapidly, we cannot image why designers would not restrict themselves to creating clothing for a specific gender. "That's just so limiting," she says. "on the other hand, Kayne in a skirt - now, that's progress."
London -based writer Boyd Farrow once experimented with a filly blouse, but he ended up looking like a large decorative lampshade.
The fashion industry embracing non-gendered clothing is an idea we loved. When searching for affordable brands with this concept months ago, we stumbled across our newest designer Control Sector. This New York based team summarizes the above concept in everyday wearable pieces. They are easily spotted on celebrities from men and women alike and we are so stoked to see what else is on the horizon for their spectacular streetwear compositions. They are on their 5th season's collection and Control Sector is truly the now!
Let's take brief look into what history has to offer us on Androgyny Through the Ages:
- Boyd Farrow + Whitney Young
We would love to read your comments about where fashion is headed. Add to the dialogue below and remember #theworldisyours