Is there a more Instagrammed event than Coachella? The US music festival is like catnip to influencers, big and small, and known for its stellar line-up of iconic musicians. In 2022, though, the biggest Coachella headlines worldwide were taken up by three words only – Harry Style’s jumpsuit.
The internet immediately went into meltdown after Harry kicked off the weekend in a rainbow sequinned jumpsuit. Covered head-to-toe in large metallic sequins that adorned a deep v-neckline and glistened in an array of colours, this was no typical ‘boy-band’ attire and it ultimately kicked off a global debate on whether ‘unisex’ fashion is the new norm.
In fairness, Harry Styles is no stranger to ‘gender fluid fashion’. He’s graced the cover of Vogue in a Harris Reed dress, turned up to awards ceremonies dripping in pearls and has just launched his own gender free beauty brand. Some commentators believe he’s leading the way for the future of fashion.
Although Styles is an early adopter, the term ‘gender-fluid clothing’ is now being used by some of the biggest names in the industry – yet it’s easier to explain its purpose than its definition. Quite simply, gender-fluid fashion isn’t limited by the traditional “menswear” and “womenswear”. Instead, the idea is that any given style or outfit completely disregards the association between, say, trousers and men or skirts and women.
Increasingly, we’ve seen an uptick in brands and designers creating gender-fluid lines. This concept can be incredibly liberating for fashion designers and those who opt to express themselves through what’s currently considered a less orthodox style.
It feels like the dawn of a new era with a new generation rejecting any restraints previously put on them to conform to their gender.
27% of teens identity as gender non-conformist, while 81% of generation Z believe a person shouldn’t be defined by their gender. 56% of generation Z shop outside their assigned gender, whether it’s for fashion or beauty.
It’s an exciting and freeing time for both the fashion industry and anyone who wants to embrace all that the world of style has to offer. Here’s our pick of brands to watch for gender-fluid style.
5 great gender-fluid brands
Nudie Jeans is an American unisex clothing brand loved for its high quality, sustainable denim pieces. Maria Erixon founded the denim brand with Joakim Levin and, when they started Nudie Jeans in 2001, the founders decided that environmental awareness and human rights would permeate everything they did.
Thriving on this idea of raw, untreated fabric, Nudie Jeans’ environmental philosophy appeals conscious fashionistas everywhere.
The brand has a vast offering of sustainable denim in colours and shades from classic blue denim to delicate blue sky-like shades that work wonders with pastels.
The “life” brand (their description) first launched in 2021 and the world went mad for Harry Style’s first product line. The first drop consisted of four nail polishes, an eye and lip serum, and a face serum – though they say future drops might explore other ‘pleasure-filled’ categories.
The 12 polishes are biodegradable and made with plant-based solvents, while the eye and lip products are inspired by Styles’s love of pearls. The Pearlescent Illuminating Serum is a moisturising serum that contains vitamin B5, antioxidants, amino acids, and mica to give skin a sparkly glow.
“It was inspired by the Japanese skin divers – female divers who collected pearls for Morimoto with no gear, just a net. Their skin looks so fresh, shining in the sun, and I wanted a product that would give that feeling,” Styles says.
Sustainable lifestyle brand Pangaia launched its first denim collection with former Levi’s denim designer Jonathan Cheung.
The brand created the new denim fabric using wild Himalayan nettles and India-sourced organic cotton, utilising innovative technologies to ensure the denim is highly durable, soft and comfortable.
The pieces, which are dyed using Candiani’s water and dye saving process in Italy are then woven on a shuttle loom at a slow speed. Each denim garment will include a digital passport that will allow customers access to product-level impact reporting.
The gender-neutral collection is designed for unisex sizing and come in either a darker blue rinse wash or classic blue mid-wash. The first drop is composed of three styles – a pan-sex straight leg denim pant, a women’s high-rise straight leg pant and a unisex 90’s inspired jacket.
Launched in 2013, TomboyX was founded by Fran Dunaway and her wife Naomi Gonzalez. The duo came up with the idea for the company after Dunaway had been struggling to find a button-down shirt to her liking, and discovered there wasn’t much out there for women looking for masculine-style clothing.
It wasn’t until someone called Gonzalez, asking if they had boxer briefs for women, that TomboyX realised that there was a gap in the marketplace.
In the company’s seven-year history, Seattle-based TomboyX has become a gender-neutral brand that has something for everyone. With sizes ranging from extra small to XXL, the company is inclusive of all bodies.
Asian-American transgender beauty influencer Nikita Dragun has now launched her debut beauty brand Dragun Beauty. The range of makeup products for all identities includes Dragunheart Transformation Face Powder and Dragunfire Skin Perfection Potion, and both come encased in a plastic dragon egg.
Nikita developed base products she felt were missing from the market, rather than traditional makeup pieces. Looking at ideas that spoke to her as a consumer – a skin perfecting ‘potion’ and a transforming face powder and a duo of brightening powders. These products were inspired by the way Dragun, a trans woman, used makeup to feminise her face.
Not only is Dragun Beauty the first major beauty brand created by a trans woman, it also chose to cater to queer makeup enthusiasts, creating gender-affirming products meant to enhance their natural beauty. For trans women specifically, the colour correcter can be used to mask facial hair while the brightening powders help create a more rounded, feminine face shape.
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