Fashion labels that defy the structure of gender norms
Clothes made for everyone
Interchangeability has always been at the core of what fashion is all about. Items like scarves typically used to shield their wearer from harsh weather can also be seen on the top handles of bags, protecting the leather from sweat damage and regular wear and tear. The same can be said about clothes and their versatility for those wearing them. For the longest time, the fashion industry has been hyper-focused on segregating items between genders—skirts and heels are for girls, pants and loafers exude masculinity so men should wear them…the list goes on. But since the pandemic struck and rendered us all indoors, so many of us managed to break through the constrictive wall of genders, urging us to explore a more unisex, gender-neutral take on dressing up to better identify ourselves.
As a result, the terms gender-neutral and unisex clothing have become more recognisable within society. Having to spend an extended amount of time indoors, fashion became an escape and gateway to self-expression. Many individuals were inspired to flaunt on their online platform how they can step away from the gender stereotypes that society has kept us in for a very long time
Continuing on this important movement, we highlight 10 labels that are expressionless in gender, but the opposite in design, statement and individuality.
1. Altu by Joseph Altuzarra
First stepping into the spotlight at the Met Gala 2021 post-lockdown on Troye Sivan, Altu is a label that stands individually from Altuzarra, offering pieces that are fashionable and non-restricted to a specific gender. At the glamorous affair, Sivan donned a body-hugging tank dress that revealed a big scoop on the front and made heads turn as he walked the red carpet. Meant to appeal on a visual level, the dress served its purpose—expressing sensuality and sexuality on a gender non-conforming individual.
2. Tanner Fletcher
Founded by Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell in 2020, the brand was formed to reflect their individual identities as creatives and to steer away from the binary standard set within the fashion industry. In their recent ready-to-wear collection, the label showcased vintage silhouettes that took references from the ‘50s through the ‘70s, with elements of interior design drawn from Richie’s speciality.
3. Harris Reed
Worn by the likes of Harry Styles and Solange, Harris Reed is a luxe gender-neutral label synonymous with its founder, a British-American creator who gained his know-how and craft of fashion design while at Central Saint Martins. At his label, Reed explicates romanticism as the forefront and theme of each collection, while drawing further inspiration from social and political issues that are ever-present in society.
Pronounced “Gih-noo”, this label is the first of its kind in all aspects of fashion. Being the first Native American-led clothing company solely focused on creating pieces from denim, Ginew is also unisex. Thus, the label has stepped away from gender norms, constructing items that are accessible to all. Along with being inclusive, Ginew expresses its Native American voice through the craftsmanship in each piece using leather and patterns taken from its heritage.
This label has grown into quite a buzzworthy brand since its launch in 2005, even while its designer and owner, Telfar Clemens, was still a student at Pace University. Known universally for his ‘Brooklyn Birkin’, the Telfar Shopping bag is one of the many items sold under the unisex label and caters to all fashionphiles high and low.
6. Riley Studio
Clean, simple, easy, sophisticated and cut to perfection are some adjectives that can be used to describe the clothes designed at Riley Studio. Adding to the list of things that the label practices are sustainability and designing gender-neutral clothes for all consumers. Operating on the belief of a more accepting and non-binary society that grew in number post-lockdown, designer and owner Riley Uggla believes that the clothes produced in this day and age should be reflective of this, thus, steering and running her label in a non-conformist framework.
7. Arket Children
There’s something here made just for kids too! Introducing Arket, a label offering gender-neutral clothing while practising its ethos of being sustainable. Sharing that a growing child has an estimated 280 pieces of clothing in the first two years of their life, pieces assembled here are meant to be handed down to others once they have served their purpose.
8. Collina Strada
Intending on creating a future that is transparent and sustainable while staying true to her craft, Hillary Taymour founded Collina Strada. Based and manufactured in New York, the designer offers pieces that are timeless and genderless, and at the same time, loud and bold.
Sustainable, gender-neutral while also producing one-of-a-kind pieces? Sign us up! Weaving in designs that are timeless and sourced from rescued materials, Bode is the brand to look for if you’re keen on tailor-made clothing that’s unrestricted to certain body types or genders.
10. Wales Bonner
Making menswear pieces that are equally beloved by women is Wales Bonner. A graduate of Central Saint Martins like Harris Reed, Bonner’s aesthetic is reflective of Afro-Atlantic influences and the infusion of European heritage catering to men, women and those who do not go by any gender at all.
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