Asexual: The absence of sex. Genderless in nature. In the context of fashion: clothing with no gender associated.

The fashion industry has been challenging social standards of gender-associated clothing since the 80s. Gender-neutral fashion is becoming something that is prominently seen in designer collections. Comme des Garçons being one of the first designers to set the tone, sent men in skirts down the runway in their Fall/Winter 2009 collection. Not only are these boundaries being broken by designers, retailer-alike have introduced environments where men and women can shop collectively.

This collective shopping experience is evident in London’s world renowned concept store Dover Street Market. Each floor is not defined by men or women, rather common floors where both sexes are invited to shop in an open space.

On March 12, 2015 Selfridges took this concept to the extreme. The world’s Best Department Store has teamed up with designer, interior stylist, and creative consultant Faye Toogood to open a genderless pop-up store. The three-storey concept space; branded Agender “is an environment in which you are given the freedom to transcend notions of ‘his’ and ‘hers’, as you simply find your most desired item by colour, fit and style” – selfridges.com. Featuring more than 40 designers including our Montreal raised Rad Hourani and Toogood herself, Agender’s edit is blurred of genders.

How likely is this asexual concept to penetrate into the current retail market? The fashion industry has always proved to be accepting of individuality and person style. Thus, designers have the liberty of creating androgynous (or lack-there-of) clothing. With Gucci’s Fall/Winter 15 runway show sending both women and men down the runway in similar clothing, it’s inevitable that it’ll be reflected in luxury fashion and mimicked in high-street retailers. However, the idea of redefining the retail space to reflect a genderless shopping experience is still a topic of discussion. Although the fashion industry has a massive influence on social standards, changing the way people traditionally shop requires a social shift. Selfridges may have taken a risk to satisfying this niche market, whether other retailers will follow suit, we have yet to see.

 

 

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