Breaking the Binary: How the Fashion Industry is Embracing Gender-Fluidity in 2023

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The fashion industry is experiencing a shift towards gender-fluid fashion, with more consumers purchasing across gender-specific categories. Consumers are increasingly rejecting traditional dress codes, and silhouettes, fabrics, and colors no longer need to conform to traditional gender norms.


This shift has prompted industry leaders to consider how to best act on changing consumer expectations. Gender has long influenced fashion, and gender is embedded in today’s merchandising practices, making the introduction of gender fluidity into product collections a practical update of operational systems. The shift towards gender-fluid fashion is partly driven by evolving cultural and social attitudes towards gender in different regions and across generations.


According to research conducted by fintech company Klarna, around 50% of Gen-Z globally have purchased fashion outside of their gender identity, and around 70% of consumers say they are interested in buying gender-fluid fashion in the future, with younger generations leading the way.


The combination of shifting attitudes and pop culture influence has boosted consumer demand for gender-fluid fashion. Luxury and designer fashion labels have embraced their own versions of gender-fluid fashion by casting androgynous models or dressing masculine models in feminine looks — and vice versa.


Fashion leaders need to consider how they may evolve their marketing, product design, store design, and merchandising to meet the demand for gender-fluid fashion in 2023. They could consider creating diverse workforces to help strengthen their understanding of the discourse and ensure companies avoid tokenistic projects that may be perceived as lacking sincerity or authenticity. Brands and retailers could also train store associates to help customers shopping across gender lines find the right fit, with an understanding of how sizes translate across gendered items.


Many traditional retailers, including H&M, Gap, and Zara, still offer separate sizing for men’s and women’s clothing. However, some brands are experimenting with more inclusive sizing options. For example, the brand Universal Standard offers clothing in sizes 00-40, with no distinction between men’s and women’s categories. Similarly, Levi’s recently introduced a gender-neutral denim collection that includes sizing up to 40 for all styles.


In addition to fit, brands can also consider the use of fabrics and silhouettes that are traditionally associated with one gender but are being reimagined for all genders. For example, men’s skirts and dresses have been seen on the runways of major fashion shows, and brands like H&M and Zara have introduced unisex collections featuring flowing dresses and oversized shirts that can be styled in a variety of ways.


Marketing and merchandising are also important areas for brands to consider. Ad campaigns that feature diverse models of different genders and body types can help to normalize gender-fluid fashion and attract a wider range of customers. In-store displays and merchandising should also be reconsidered to ensure that gender-neutral and gender-fluid clothing is prominently featured and easily accessible.


Ultimately, the shift towards gender-fluid fashion represents a significant opportunity for brands to tap into a growing consumer demand for more inclusive and diverse clothing options. As attitudes towards gender continue to evolve, brands that can successfully navigate this shift and embrace gender fluidity in their product offerings and marketing strategies will be well-positioned to capture the attention of younger, more diverse consumers.


In conclusion, the rise of gender-fluid fashion is a response to changing attitudes towards gender and a desire for more inclusive and diverse clothing options. Brands that can adapt to this shift by updating their product offerings, marketing strategies, and operational systems will be better able to meet the needs of today’s consumers and stay relevant in a rapidly evolving fashion landscape.

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