The line between gender norms is fast becoming blurred. The Gen Z generation are huge advocates of breaking down barriers and expectations. One of their focuses is gender-fluid dressing that comes from leaving labels behind. The rise of Tiktok in March 2019 saw a huge influx of male teenagers in crop tops, wearing nail polish and accessorising with rings and necklaces, all things that seem against the ‘norm’. This soon became a trend amongst the younger generation.
Left: Harry Styles as a ballerina during his hosting stint on SNL
Right: Harry Styles at the 2019 Met Gala wearing Gucci
Harry Styles is a key pioneer for this movement. Multiple times he has worn what has previously been deemed ‘feminine’ attire. In 2019 during November Styles posted a series of photoshoot images wearing a pink ballerina outfit in aid of Saturday Night Live and attend the Met Gala in a transparent black blouse with painted nails. Let’s not forget his appearance on the cover of Vogue dressed in a GUCCI dress. Whilst many people were shocked at the so-called statement, the previously mentioned Gen Z see it as the norm. It is clear Styles has no interest in traditional gender norms and we support it!
Harry Styles is not the only Celebrity championing gender-fluid dressing. At the 2019 Oscars, Billy Porter wore a beautiful tuxedo dress. A magical combination of traditional female and male Oscar attire with the tuxedo top half and flowing gown on the bottom half. Porter said in an interview with vogue “This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress.” He also stated in the interview, people are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown—but it’s not anybody’s business but mine.”
Billy Porter wearing Christian Siriano at the Oscars Red Carpet 2019
Designers and global brands have also noticed this shift in fashion, thus creating unisex ranges in their collections. Globally recognised brands like Zara and H&M were the first amongst many to release their genderless clothing ranges. In 2016 Zara was ahead of the game by releasing its small unisex line called ‘ungendered’. Zara did however receive some backlash for unimaginative neutrals and too simplistic designs as the collection only 16 pieces in basic navy, white, black and grey tones. Many of the reviews, did, on the other hand, praise the collection for the bold step.
It wasn’t until 2019 that H&M followed with its own gender-free line in collaboration with Swedish brand EYTYS. EYTYS is well known for it’s genderless ranges but for H&M this is something entirely new. “With this collaboration, we hope to introduce the H&M customer to our design philosophy of robust and fuss-free design where function triumphs embellishment and styles spans genders,” says Schiller, who is also creative director at Eytys.
H&M X EYTYS Collaboration Campaign
Since these brands brought out their first unisex lines many more brands have followed. Now on ASOS you’ll find COLLUSION, perfect for unisex loungewear or the store UNIQLO, in which the majority of the store is gender free.
For a long time, fashion has been focused on labelling genders through products but the blurring of the boundaries creates room for more self-expression. People are finally shedding the restrictions once associated with clothing. Not only is this a huge movement in fashion evolution but it’s a breathe of fresh air for many people.