Unisex clothing arose in the late 70s-80s; however, served a different purpose to what we know as unisex clothing today. the style of unisex clothing at this time enhanced the differences between the genders, as they focussed very much on fit, despite being the same article of clothing. Its failure to fully embody “gender-less” concepts were due to the stricter notions of masculinity and femininity at the time.

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ITV Studios | Photography courtesy of The Atlantic

Nowadays, the concept of “gender neutral” is fully embraced. Unisex brands are successfully on the rise again such as Bethnals, a London-based denim brand. This modern brand showcases the same structured pieces on both male and female models, which assists the buyer to understand how the piece will sit on everyone. Independent brands have been adopting unisex for some time, such as Too Good, Tilly and William, and Rad Hourani.

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Bethnals AW16 Lookbook | Photography courtesy of Bethanls

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Too Good Collection 006 | Photography courtesy of Too Good

Not only have smaller brands been embracing the genderless trend, luxury brands such as Gucci are also blurring the lines with their AW17 collection. Gucci, a classic brand who have uninterruptedly kept their male and female collections separate, have brought them together at Milan Fashion Week 2017. The collection had male models in skin-tight jumpsuits accessorized with a floral kimono, and women in embroidered oversized checkered flannels with tights and pink heels for a feminine touch.

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Gucci AW17 | Photography Courtesy of Vogue

Similarly, Balmain held their AW17 show during the designated Men’s Fashion Week, which showcased both male and female pieces. The collection was gender specific by having the women in tight, embroidered dresses and the men in heavy structured coats. However, one could see how this collection could be gender fluid by showcasing a male model wearing a long knitted tunic with knee high suede boots, while the women wore similar knee high boots during the show.

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Balmain AW17 | Photography Courtesy of Vogue

This fluidity between genders may be a risk for classic high-end brands to embrace, however, it is inevitable to see that their audience is beginning to accept the versatility of clothing between genders. Unisex clothing will not only be an interesting challenge for most designers, but it is a modern trend forecasted to stay.

Edited by Sonia Wan

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/04/when-unisex-was-the-new-black/390168/

http://www.pride.com/fashion/2016/2/19/17-clothing-brands-just-say-no-gender-binary