The concept of gender neutrality aims
to make obsolete gender specific terminology.
It anticipates societal transition towards non-gender alignment language,
as a step towards the elimination of gender-based bias and stereotypes.
In acknowledging the importance of gender equality, generally
and gender neutrality, specifically-
Sweden announced last week the introduction of
a gender neutral pronoun to the Swedish language.
Each decade, the Swedish Academy modernises the language
according to new word relevance and usage.
In addition to the Swedish subject pronouns:
he (han) and she (hon)–
the gender- neutral subject pronoun hen
will be listed in dictionaries as of April 2015.
In recent years, world wide awareness of gender neutrality initiatives
have gained momentum with fashion creatives as
pioneering force in furthering the concept.
Inventive designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and the trio from Sibling
are known to create gender non-specific garments,
which combine masculine and feminine dress/style elements.
(images from style.com):
by Yohji Yamamoto, a/w 2015
by Sibling, a/w 2015
Within the fashion world,
the idea of gender non-specificity has been given an additional boost.
Selfridge & Co., the high-end U.K. department store
now offers an experience of gender neutral shopping.
The new pop-up department is called Agender.
(photos by meappropriatestyle):
Agender shopping is a particular response to a perspective
of gender as non-binary.
Within this definition, gender classification is self determined,
thereby fluid and open to a myriad of interpretives.
The Agender Campaign
the doing away with traditional labels of gender classification
At Selfridges London, Oxford Street
the Agender space was conceived by
British furniture and object designer Faye Toogood.
The experience starts from store entrance.
For the first time in Selfridges’ history, since opening in 1909,
there are no male or female mannequins in the window displays.
Garments are draped or hung on hanging units,
placed on shelving or laid across furniture pieces.
Agender window displays
Selfridge London- Oxford Street
In-store, the Agender department is situated over two floors.
Clothing and accessories are showcased in the same manner
as the window displays: without indication of gender reference.
Agender in-store display
Selfridge London- Oxford Street
The idea is to liberate shoppers from traditional notions of
gender-focus dress stereotypes and to encourage
shopping for pieces that are of a desired sartorial objective.
“It was a concept spawned from Selfridges’ buyers’ realisation that men and women were moving away from their allocated areas and venturing into those designated to the opposite sex … (and) beginning to select aspects from one another, be it shoes, accessories or clothing.” (from The Telegraph, U.K.)
The Agender project features unisex clothing from
over 40 labels to including among others
Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garcons,
Meadham Kirchhoff and Gareth Pugh.
The pop-up shop is staffed by knowledgeable individuals
who expertly field customer queries on the fashion and retail philosophy
which informs the Agender scheme.
staff member at the Agender Project
The Agender campaign is recognition that gender definition is changing.
It is not simply a biological determinant, but one of mindset.