"Fashion is historically an industry that challenges the existing rules and invites consumers to think outside of the box, especially in terms of shapes and silhouettes. This became even more evident in recent years with gender fluidity and the trend towards consumers questioning traditional expressions of gender gaining strength. In fact, leading European brands are now launching entire collections and opening stores to celebrate the diversity of their customers and to link their brand image to gender-fluidity".

For more, see: Mintel report Beauty and Personal Care Retailing – UK, January 2020 and Mintel report Clothing Retailing – UK, October 2019

What we've seen

  • French fashion label Equipment announced the launch of a gender-fluid collection for spring 2020.

  • In December 2019, Cambridge Heath welcomed the UK's "first gender-fluid fashion store", launched by an initiative of fashion label Verve London.

  • Brands all over the world have been launching new products and engaging in initiatives to promote gender-neutral clothing and accessories, some of which also promoting diversity.

  • According to our research, 22% of Brazilian consumers say they like to use unisex fragrances because they have more neutral scents.

  • 26% of Brazilian consumers aged 25-34 believe more products can be advertised as gender neutral.

Equipment launches its first gender-fluid collection in 2020

In February 2020, premium French fashion label Equipment announced the launch of a gender-fluid collection for Spring/Summer 2020. The concept was first introduced in October 2019, and according to the brand, the clothes were inspired by the classic Parisian style, as well as Equipment's extensive archive, and designed to appeal to today’s "gender expansive" consumer.

The collection includes long- and short-sleeved shirts in silk, twill and crisp cotton, with prints remaining a core element of Equipment's handwriting. The brand is also partnering with 'The Phluid Project', which is a gender-fluid retailer and organisation selling clothing, accessories, and beauty products for the LGBTQIA+ community.

London welcomed its first gender-fluid fashion store in 2019

In December 2019, London’s Cambridge Heath welcomed the UK's "first gender-fluid fashion store", with fashion label Verve London claiming to be London's "first multi-label retail platform dedicated to fashion that challenges traditional boundaries between menswear and womenswear". The new store stocks gender-fluid clothing and accessories from a range of emerging brands, with a missing to challenge gender norms and celebrate individuality and self-expression.

In fact, in Mintel Trend The Next Genderation, we discuss how the days of blue for boys and pink for girls are gone, and how consumers are moving away from traditional gender stereotypes and expressions while embracing gender neutrality in a variety of industries.

Recent gender-neutrality initiatives in fashion

The movement toward gender-neutrality stretches across industries, from make-up brands to personal care products and fashion, among others. Gender-neutral products have an intrinsic economic benefit to families looking to get the most out of clothing, toys, and other shared items. Manufacturers can see increased sales of unisex items if the entire population becomes the target market.

In fact, since 2016 the world’s more forward thinking fashion brands have become increasingly eager to attract a new, young audience which views gender with more fluidity than its prior generations. And it isn't just new brands that are highlighting the global appetite for gender-neutral clothing. There has been a breakdown of the traditional showing of men's and women's collections among the likes of Burberry, JW Anderson, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

Two years ago, London department store Selfridges launched "Agender", a shopping space where customers could buy clothes which transcend the notion of "his" and "hers". Accessories came in white, unmarked boxes, while customers could also get their hands on unisex Stan Smiths by Adidas, hoodies by Hood By Air. Also, the 2016 collection for Spring/Summer saw Zara present "Ungendered", a line of unisex clothing ranging from jeans to hoodies.

While this movement may have seen its first expressions take place in Western Europe and in the US, an increasing number of brands and retailers have been joining the gender-fluid wave worldwide. For example, in November 2019, Argentinian online marketplace Mercado Libre launched a new gender-neutral apparel segment for those who do not identify with binary female or male fashion labels. So far, the new was launched in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. Tied in with that, our research shows that 26% of consumers in Brazil aged 25-34 feel that more products can be advertised as being gender-neutral.

What it means

  • The gender gap still exists—in surprising ways—but brands and consumers alike are working to challenge and change the status quo.

  • There is a clear trend towards gender-neutrality across different industries, which continues to gain strength, and brands which have been ignoring it may do so in their own detriment.

  • Designers have been flirting with gender neutrality since the beginning of time but it was only in recent years that brands started seizing the opportunity to experiment with silhouettes and shapes.

  • In 2019, Gucci retained the top spot as the hottest brand in the world according to the "Lyst Index", showing that even the most traditional fashion brands are blurring the lines of their clothing.

  • We expect fashion brands to continue to normalise their ranges irrespective of gender through their marketing initiatives to attract increasing contingents of the younger boundary-breaking generation.

Back to top