People looking to shop this year for the gender confused have options. Online fashion collections and even retail shops feature what’s being called gender-free clothing.
Gender-free clothing has been out there, on runways and in fashion magazines, for years. I received an ad from a clothing company called Primary that gives kids a chance to choose from a rainbow of colors. The photo shows a kid in a blue dress. It’s labeled “the-boys-long-sleeve-dress. In cobalt.”
More recently, some companies have taken trans retail. ‘Phluid Project’ is a store located in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood. FORTUNE magazine explains: “The space is a combination store, café, and event space geared toward the LGBTQ community.”
Inside is an open sales floor with no gender-specific departments. Instead there are non-gendered mannequins with straight hips in clothing emblazoned with messages like the phrase, “They Power”.
In addition to the New York location, Phliud partnered with HBO’s series “Euphoria” last summer to open one-day-only pop-up shops in San Francisco, Seattle, and Miami. “Euphoria” explores the inner worlds of troubled high school students with strong themes surrounding gender identity. In these stores, shoppers were invited to sit in on panel discussions with cast members.
Phluid Project founder, Rob Smith, draws on his 30 years of executive retail experience with brands including Nike, Levi’s, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret. He says, “we want to erase any preconceived notions of how people should dress.”
Cosmetics giant, Sephora, added “Trans is Beautiful’ to its diversity push and offers beauty classes for transgender people.
H & M offers a unisex collection that includes mostly denim pieces, jeans, overalls, jackets, and also some hoodies and t-shirts. And Zara has a line dubbed “Ungendered.”
Some of these companies, like H & M, are simply checking the inclusivity box. Others, like Phluid, seek to destigmatize the trans identity.
I wish this was a passing fad. But these retail executives are mainstreaming a destructive delusion.