What if, instead of buying boyfriend jeans, you could just buy the same jeans as your boyfriend does? This may be increasingly likely in the years to come. If New York Fashion Week is any indication (spoiler alert: it is), gender neutral clothing options are a growing trend. Brands like Public School sent collections down the runway featuring many looks that occupied the grey area between masculine and feminine this year.
Some brands have already abandoned gender differentiations entirely. Children’s clothing maker Polarn O. Pyret proudly states that it is “Not for girls. Not for boys. We make clothes for children!” However, gender neutral brands for adults are still few and far between.
The 21st century has already seen the rise in challenge against the traditional gender binary, as young people question why we split the world so strictly between male and female. Clothing may be the next frontier. The New York Times reports that many within the fashion industry think the time to embrace gender neutrality is now.
With the growth of one size fits all retailers, we could consider gender neutrality to be part of a larger movement to offer a standard set of options for an entire consumer base. Unlike one size fits all clothing, gender neutral products serve to challenge illogical practices in the fashion world. When you think about it, the whole concept of gender-divided clothing is, for the most part, an unnecessary one.
As we learned recently, even the high heel, which we take for granted as being unquestionably feminine, was originally a shoe for men. Realizations like this challenge our basic assumptions about what makes clothing appropriate for one sex or the other. There has been a huge variety of ideas across history and cultures about what clothing is appropriate for men and women, and there is very little logic behind the division of men and women’s clothing in today’s society, so why not shake things up? This process will undoubtedly be a gradual one, but it seems like we’re headed in the right direction.