Made for everyone.
How we dress ourselves is inherently gendered. How we name our clothing, too — the ‘boyfriend’ or ‘mum’ jean; the ‘grandpa’ shirt — is inherently gendered. The gendered boundaries that exist in fashion are myriad; from how the traditional buying process is bisected into womenswear and menswear, to the way product is merchandised, down to the sizing available. There appears to be a renaissance on the horizon, however.
Whether we’re attributing this renaissance to a year spent dormant, lazing about in shapeless loungewear; or, Harry Styles, Gen-Z heartthrob, strung up in pearls; or, just a long time coming, there are brands operating beyond conventional gender norms. Instead of listing product under shop-tabs designated ‘Women’ or ‘Men’, the product is highlighted for what it is. Tops. Bottoms. Accessories. For all.
Look no further than the following list of five for an introduction into a gender neutral shopping experience.
The Phluid Project
Positioned as the world’s first-ever ‘gender-free’ clothing store, The Phluid Project is much more than its retail persona. Clothing — from cut-and-sew T-shirts and hoodies, with pointed slogans that speak to wider socio-cultural issues concerning LGBTQIA+ rights to a wide range of designs from aggregated gender neutral brands — is only one part of the concept. The Phluid Project also has a separate non-profit division named ‘The Phluid Phoundation‘, which aims to educate and provide resources to the LGBTQIA+ community no matter age, class and creed.
Shop The Phluid Project here.
How many times have we rummaged through a partner’s wardrobe for a shirt that just ‘fits better’? Dreaded the ‘ladies fit’ shirt options at high-street boutiques? You know the one; the ‘slim-fit’ silhouette with the darting at the bust that means to flatter but, really, just makes for an uncomfortable wearing experience.
Shirts — and most other foundational basics that form the basis of wardrobes, like T-shirts and cut-and-sew separates — have no business being gendered. Hong Kong-based brand AndAll, co-founded by Christine Yu, addresses this very issue, and produces ‘gender-free shirts designed for body shapes, not assumptions’.
AndAll currently has one thing in stock: the Digital Oxford shirt. Like a short-but-sweet menu that shows quality, expertise and know-how. Quality, here, is in the details, for the Digital Oxford shirt is available in four prints and seven — yes, seven! — size options. Choose your best fit; not your gender-informed fit.
The Digital Oxford shirt is priced at HK$975. Shop AndAll here.
California-based IJJI’s brand name is derived from the Japanese wordイージーパンツ, meaning any loosely fitted drawstring pant; an intention that travels through the gender neutral brand’s philosophy as one that focuses, instead, on design. On natural fibres, beautiful colours and interesting silhouettes. Every garment — from silk button-ups to creased suiting trousers — is modelled on at least two different body types for fit.
Shop IJJI here.
All traditional ways of working — picking seasonal colours from Pantone swatches; gender specific designs; fast turnovers — are thrown out the window at Olderbrother. Rather, the brand champions the natural. Zero tolerance for metals and toxins. Eco-conscious organic textiles from Japan. Natural dyes made from hibiscus, sustainable wood bark, turmeric and mostly edible sources. Upcycled, one-of-a-kind designs.
Gender neutral sizing — a core tenet — is really the least interesting part about the brand. And that’s a compliment.
Shop Olderbrother here.
Story mfg. is born out of a true love for artisanship and craftsmanship. A real respect and understanding that manufacturing — hint: where ‘mfg’ stems from — beautiful, intentional designs takes time. Takes effort. Takes patience. Expect easy, gender neutral, folk-inspired collections that actually does good. Instead of striving for net-zero emissions, Story mfg. hopes to leave behind positive legacies with a vegan, cruelty-free, no-waste approach; any dye waste accrued will be used as nutrient fertiliser. So cool.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong