The recent AW14 Men’s fashion weeks marked a new wave of gender-neutral fashion that is proliferating itself across the fashion industry. I can attest that after exposing myself to hours of fashion week coverage, it was the visual marriage of the dapper attendees and the dynamic runway designs that left me desperate to appear in public looking like the birth child of A$AP Rocky and T-Michael. Obviously, my impinging on society in that fashion would be completely absurd. Which is why I am eternally indebted to designers such as JW Anderson, Marques Almeida’s unisex collection for Opening Ceremony and Richard Nicoll’s S/he collection who have created an evident profusion of gender ambiguity through their creations. These designers have given the nod to the initiation of the unisex trend, and I admit with confidence and sheer thrill that the genre of gender-neutral dressing is the new unacclaimed hero of high fashion activity.
Although fashion appropriators have celebrated unisex fashion in the past, (cue 1993 Ralph Lauren unisex POLO range) the difference this time around is that men’s fashion has recently gone through a revolution, challenging the boundaries of contemporary fashion as we know it. Through the diversification of digital communication and contemporary visual culture, men have the opportunity for personal rebranding and the ability to control their own sartorial narrative. Now, more so than ever before, insecurities around gender are expiring and gentle, effeminate qualities are becoming the acknowledged representation of strength and manhood. Further expediting the unisex trend are the women who are paying homage to this menswear revolution, not because womenswear has become particularity uninteresting, its that they have become more fascinated with a style that’s relatively different from their own. Trashing ruffles for tailored suits seems like much more of an exhilarating allure and, incidentally, can be used to elicit a sense of equality.
In honor of this revelation, I’ve perused through the semi-abundant wealth of London based designers who appear to be endorsing the burgeoning demand for unisex fashion: A.P.C., they’ve been attracting the discerning customer for over two decade ands provides sleek basics for both sexes. (www.apc.com)
JW Anderson, East London based designer, maintains that clothing should define one’s gender, and not the other way around. He has developed an AW14 collection using fabrics, cuts and details that will suit both men and women. (www.j-w-anderson.com)
Larrson and Jennings, favored for their classic unisex watches that emulate British Design fused with classic minimalism. (www.larssonandjennings.com) Riviera Shoes, although not entirely London based, it would be a shame to leave them off the list. These leisure shoes provide a twist on the classic 1950’s style espadrille and are designed for both men and women. They are as elegant as they are casual and can be found in boutiques across London. (rivieras-shoes.com). And finally, look out for the Unisexwear department to open in Selfridges next year which will play host to a multitude of genderless collections from brands such as Hood By Air, Bazar-14 and KTZ.
It is the aforementioned designers to who I express my gratitude, for no longer do we have to submit to the ‘Want what I can’t have’ complex, because the ‘forbidden fruit’ of peach blazers and banana yellow pants can now be flexibly claimed by either sex.