Generation Genderless - Issue #17

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Generation Genderless
Generation Genderless
Hi - my name is Kris Harrington, CEO and Creative Director of Kris Harring Apparel Group. We specialize in gender-inclusive design strategy and product development.
Generation Genderless is your guide to the top news and insights covering gender equity and society within the fashion industry and beyond.

Industry News
How to launch a six-figure, genderless fashion line without investors | Fast Company (VIDEO)
Kingsley Gbadegesin started K.NGSLEY in 2020 because he was out of clean shirts. Since then, Gbadegesin has built the brand without investors—using only the money earned from selling his products while regularly donating portions of profits to organizations helping to house trans people, as well as various activist organizations. (Watch on Fast Company)
GENDER-FLUID BRANDS POSE A MERCHANDISING CHALLENGE
Gender-fluid fashion is “fresh, it’s “inclusive,” and it’s here to stay.
This was the message at Project New York, the contemporary men’s and gender-fluid brands trade show. While gendered sections have been the traditional blueprint for fashion retail, many brands have started designing genderless clothing, creating a new inclusive section for all.
The gender-fluid brands present at Project NY spanned Chelsea Grays, Krost, Le Bonnet, Maxime Simoens Paris, New Braves One DNA, SO.TY sonyeo[n] and Whensmokeclears.
In a fireside chat with, Edwina Kulego, Informa Markets Fashion VP of international and business development, Rob Smith, the CEO and founder of The Phluid Project, a gender-free brand that specializes in selling clothing, accessories and beauty for the LGBTQIA+ community, and Travis Weaver, founder of the gender-neutral brand One DNA Clothing, weighed in on how the industry is making space for gender fluidity and what that means to the industry as a whole.
“Fluidity in fashion is freedom,” Kulego said. “I love that there are brands just creating product that is special to them, for anyone, and it’s time we acknowledge the leaders in the industry who are making a safe space for all.”
The perception of gender-fluid clothing is evolving beyond “oversized and loose” fits. In fact, once gender-specific items like pearl necklaces and off-the-shoulder tops are becoming “more present” today, Smith said.
“Gender-fluid fashion is about the freedom of choice to wear what you want and not getting stuck to the binary of law and society’s standards,” Weaver added.
Inclusivity does not stop there for One DNA and The Phluid Project, though. To be inclusive on a larger scale, One DNA continues to extend its sizing beyond its “normal size range” offering some styles up to 3XL. (Read more on Sourcing Journal)
Soaring global inflation to erode apparel demand - The Daily Star
Apparel manufacturers yesterday expressed concerns over an alarming rise in global inflation, citing that increasing prices may affect the purchasing power of end-consumers in export destinations and cause demand for garment items to fall.
The Russia-Ukraine war has led to an increase in food and oil prices while the risk of an economic recession is also increasing in several countries, including those in Europe, said BGMEA President Faruque Hassan.
Entrepreneurs are struggling with rising production costs and supply chain challenges, he told a press conference organised by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at The Westin Dhaka marking the upcoming 37th IAF World Fashion Convention.
The challenges include a crisis of raw materials, rise in fuel oil, gas and electricity prices and an abnormal increase in container and ship rentals, he added.
In this context, Bangladesh’s strategy should not be to look at the current growth in garment exports but on how it can create new ones to further enhance competitiveness, he added.
He believes the model followed by the industry in the last four decades would make it difficult to achieve desired growth.
Reducing lead time should be cost effective and investment in unique backward linkage sectors has to be increased, he said.
More attention needs to be paid on product and market diversification, technology upgradation and skill development and services, he said.
Tariff and tax rates should be kept constant for a period of five years to help investors and traders adopt and implement plans, said the BGMEA president.
The BGMEA is working on creating new markets in several countries outside Europe, such as in South Korea, India and even China, Faruque said. (Daily Star)
Why Fashion Needs This Burberry Backed Talent Incubator For People Of Color
When you look at runway models, campaign stars and brand ambassadors today, the fashion industry is noticeably more representative than it was a decade ago. But beneath this public facing exterior, only 5% of the total workforce is drawn from a People of Color background.*
Roksanda Ilincic CEO turned Executive Director and BFC Diversity Committee Chairman Jamie Gill is on a mission to redress the balance. This month he’s launching The Outsiders Perspective, an incubator to help talented People of Color to enter the operational side of the business at an elevated level.
The Outsiders Perspective is backed by British mega brand Burberry, Deloitte, The British Fashion Council, The Mayor of London’s Office, Karla Otto worldwide communications agency and leading online retailer, Zalando.
It differs from current initiatives as it is specifically targeting People of Color with four years’ plus professional experience as opposed to grass roots projects in schools and colleges which will take much longer to show results.
Gill is a pragmatist. He’s about getting those results and getting them fast. We spoke in August, just days before the scheme’s official launch.
“I believe we are hitting it at the right experience level,” he says. “It’s philanthropic but it’s also feeding an immediate business need. Brands want to address their diversity issues. They are looking for talented people of color but recruitment is taking so much time because, often, they don’t know where to go.”
In many ethnic communities, fashion is not considered a viable career path: “The law, finance and consultancy are seen as much ‘safer’ options for candidates who perhaps lack the personal and financial networks needed to enter a more ‘risky’ arena like fashion.”
The Outsiders Perspective will help to facilitate matchmaking and integrating this talent with its brand partners.
The aim is to recruit lawyers, accountants, bankers and the like who have an active interest in fashion and valuable transferable skillsets but, due to “social mobility factors and cultural nuances,” initially chose more establishment careers. In normal circumstances, he says, you won’t even get a look-in at Burberry without five years experience in luxury fashion under your belt.(Read More on Forbes)
Abercrombie Gives Kids’ Denim the Size-Inclusive Treatment - Sourcing Journal
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is bringing its size-inclusive effort to its youngest wearers.
The 2022 Abercrombie kids denim collection now comes in short, regular and long jeans lengths in sizes 5/6 to 17/18, with each pair featuring waistband adjusters. The brand collected feedback from more than 1,000 parent, child and employee interviews focused on the changes stakeholders wanted to see in the kids’ clothing marketplace, according to Kelly Hall, senior vice president and general manager of Abercrombie kids.
The result is an inclusive denim collection tailored for kids in a range of heights and weights.
“Age is just one factor in finding the right fit, but by introducing multiple lengths, expanding the size range, and including waistband adjusters in every pair, kids can now enjoy the same experience as adults: find a waist size, find a length, and enjoy their comfiest denim fit,” Hall said.
The updated denim collection announced Thursday arrives after nearly two years of production and fit testing by more than 300 kids of different ages and sizes. It launched as Abercrombie & Fitch Co. marks the five-year anniversary of its gender-inclusive ‘everybody collection,’ an assortment of genderless kids’ apparel including graphic T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, jeans, sweatpants and accessories.
Abercrombie-owned Hollister Co. has also released gender-inclusive products. Last year, the brand launched Social Tourist, a clothing line curated by social media sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, whose followings top 198.6 million on TikTok and 73.8 million on Instagram. (Read More on Sourcing Journal)
Fashion Tech
Why Digital Fashion Needs Phygital Concept Stores, ZERO10 X Crosby Studios Pop Up At NYFW
AR fashion platform ZERO10 is partnering with physical design practice Crosby Studios on a digital clothing collection and IRL metaverse concept store popping up in SoHo over New York Fashion Week.
The space will showcase and sell a five-piece virtual collection designed by Crosby Studios, which also conceptualized the physical interior design using the Studio’s signature pixelated print that’s inspired by the 90s video game aesthetic.
The digital collection features a checkered suit, pixel leopard hoodie and video game pants — free of charge for fitting, sharing and saving to digital wardrobes within the ZERO10 app. A “light” shirt must be purchased prior to trying on, and the final piece, the “disappearing pants” are available as a limited-edition NFT collection retailing at 0.1 ETH (around $160). The technology allows for experimentation with different special effects such as disappearing prints and gradients. According to ZERO10 CEO, George Yashin, the idea behind the space is “to combine metaverse experience with a focus on creation and interaction by bringing it to the physical world to make it more mainstream.”
“Digital fashion doesn’t need to be limited to web 3.0 and only exist virtually but, to live outside of it—on people, around us, in public, in social media, and in concept spaces,” he adds.
A major focus is interactivity and community so guests can both experiment with content creation and drink bubble tea together IRL at the onsite Eat Me Milk Me bar.
Visitors to the pop-up’s fitting rooms will be prompted to scan QR codes with their iPhones which lead to the ZERO10 app. They can try on and share the digital clothing via ZERO10’s AR technology either in real time or via photo by uploading a picture from their iPhone’s camera roll to overlay pieces and share on social media.(Read More on Forbes)
Digital Trends Alter Fashion Industry in Indonesia
To be able to manufacture excellent and competitive products, the government is encouraging Indonesian fashion industry players to improve digitalisation and sustainability; and the digitalisation of fashion shows encouraged designers to be more inventive in their public presentations of new collections.
Angela Tanoesoedibjo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed consumer behaviour and consumers are growing more tech-savvy. Several surveys also reveal that, despite a decreased tendency in consumption of fashion products and accessories throughout the pandemic, fashion and accessories continue to dominate e-commerce sales. She added that strengthening the digital aspect and issues of sustainability are two things that must be anticipated by Indonesian fashion industry players.
“This is an opportunity that we need to take for fashion activists in the country because the online shopping phenomenon will not stop here. Technology will continue to develop in the fashion industry and moreover, Indonesia is dominated by young people who are very close to technology,” the Deputy Minister Angela elaborated, referring to the recent online bazaars and live streaming of the Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) that showcased Indonesian culture.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy acknowledged IFW 2022, which embraces digitisation as well as the designers that continue to present inventions and innovations to continue to thrill the national fashion sector, which grew by 52 per cent in 2021. The Ministry has urged SMEs in the creative industry, such as fashion, to become digital and seek new revenue opportunities and must take advantage of any sustainability issues. (Read More on OpenGov)
This Founder Is Using AI to Solve Fashion’s Biggest Problems
Laws of Motion founder Carly Bigi is building for the conscientious consumer who values personalization, inclusivity and sustainability.
It’s mid-July, and the yacht on the Hudson is called Praying for Overtime — an apt name for the boat hosting the Laws of Motion event, where founder Carly Bigi and her crew’s passion for beautiful, perfect-fitting clothing bubbles up alongside the Aperol spritzes at the bar. Bigi herself wears a vibrant pink romper that manages to strike the balance between totally chic and still professional, a throughline for the collection, and the pieces on deck: a rack of white with subtle feathers ringing sleeves and hems.
Laws of Motion’s styles are modern takes on timeless silhouettes, but that’s where any resemblance to other brands begins and ends. That’s because Laws of Motion, which counts Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss among its investors, relies on data to help customers find the ideal fit and reduce the impact of fast fashion (there’s an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste each year, globally).
“It helped me embrace the mindset that rules are suggestions.”
Putting tech at the company’s core was a natural progression for Bigi. Growing up in Houston, Texas, with deep roots in the NASA community, she learned to view “the present as a springboard for what could be possible in the future.” “[It] helped me embrace the mindset that rules are suggestions,” she tells Entrepreneur, “and that just because something was done a certain way before does not mean that’s how it needs to be done going forward.”
Bigi began her career in management consulting, where she learned how to build and run teams while identifying, defining and solving “some of the most complicated problems at some of the world’s most complicated businesses.” It’s a skill set she’s been able to put to good use at Laws of Motion — where precision and innovation are essential in addressing the fashion industry’s giant waste issue.
“Fundamentally revolutionizing the apparel industry means revolutionizing the role of precision data within the apparel industry,” Bigi explains. “And so Laws of Motion AI technology blends proprietary and complex computer visioning and learning tech with a very simple user interface to increase data precision and reduce friction in the buying experience.” (Read More on Entrepreneur)
How TikTok has influenced the fashion industry
Fashion trends have always come and gone. The idea of things falling in and out of fashion is a tale as old as time. Stovepipe trousers, tie-dye, and oversized shoulder pads all had their moment in time. These days, trends still come and go, of course, but the pace of them is much different than it used to be. Whereas trends could go on for years or up to an entire decade, now six months is generous. Particularly among the Gen-Z crowd, the famous Heidi Klum phrase, “Fashion, one day you’re in, the next you’re out,” couldn’t ring truer.
One component that could be attributed to this behavior is none other than social media platform TikTok. TikTok fashion trends come and go faster than designers can even churn out collections.
TikTok has birthed microtrends at a higher-pace
TikTok’s great rise to fashion power player status is in large part owed to COVID-19. The platform exploded when everyone was locked in their home without nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Eventually, once high fashion brands, like Gucci, hopped on the platform, the floodgates were open. TikTok quickly solidified its place as the next big platform for fashion next to Instagram, which arguably transformed the entire fashion industry.
Compared to some of its other social media predecessors, like Instagram, which has a static feed, or YouTube, which typically features more long-form videos, TikTok was known for its short-form videos. At maximum, a TikTok user has three minutes to give you the content you crave. The problem with this is that aside from birthing even shorter attention spans, it has also birthed microtrends.
Unlike trends, which have a respectable amount of shelf life, microtrends come and go as fast as we can change outfits. During the first half of 2022, TikTok was largely responsible for birthing the “cottagecore” aesthetic of the New England grandmother at her summer home in Martha’s Vineyard. Then came the Barbiecore aesthetic that made pink so popular “Legally Blonde’s” Elle Woods would have a field day. In between that, there were microtrends such as goblincore, angelcore, clowncore, and the list went on and on. Many of these came and went so fast, that fashion media platforms didn’t even have the chance to properly delve into them. It was truly a blink-and-you-miss-it type of situation. (Read More on Fashion United)
Sustainability
  • World-Class Lessons on Zero-Waste: This article is part of a series examining Responsible Fashion, and innovative efforts to address issues facing the fashion industry. Bhaavya Goenka grew up watching trucks filled with discarded textiles from her parents’ garment factory in Jaipur, India, headed to nearby landfills. In 2017, inspired by that childhood memory, Ms. Goenka, 27, founded Iro Iro, a fashion label and service that reclaims textile waste and uses it according to indigenous practice. She is one of a growing number of designers representing their traditional cultures in the conversation about zero-waste fashion. “There is this consciousness around textiles and materials that existed in our collective cultures for a long time, and I’m just trying to draw inspiration from that,” Ms. Goenka said. Iro Iro’s mission includes collaborating with design houses to collect their scraps, breaking them down into smaller pieces and working alongside artisans in villages to weave them into new fabrics. In addition, Ms. Goenka occasionally designs zero-waste collections of her own. (NY Times)
Culture
  • HSBC to Offer Gender-Neutral Banking in Bid for Inclusivity: HSBC Holdings Plc’s UK unit is planning to stop collecting data on the gender of its customers across some products as the bank pursues more inclusive services for non-binary and trans people. The bank has begun removing references to gender in some products including HSBC Kinetic, its mobile first banking business account, and its new tool for mortgages in principle, according to a company spokeswoman. It is part of a wider review into the inclusivity of its offerings and further changes are being explored. “The concept of gender is evolving at a societal level, and we’re looking at how it’s relevant for our sector,” Jimmy Higgins, co-chair of HSBC’s UK Pride Employee Network, said in emailed comments. “There is no reason we should be capturing information for a bank account or a loan if it’s not relevant.” (Bloomberg)
  • Being non-binary: A primer on the term and what it means: “Non-binary is kind of an umbrella term folks use when they neither identify as male or female,” Fusca said. “I don’t want to say that it means that it’s somewhere in between — non-binary is usually something that is very personal to the individual. "I really don’t feel like either of the ends of the binary are anything that resonate with me. I do feel more comfortable outside of the identity box in general.” A few years ago, Fusca, 28, moved to Prince Edward Island, where they first heard the term non-binary. “It really resonated with my inner child, how this child really felt out of alignment with the gender or sex that I was assigned at birth.” They’d been assigned female at birth, and said they struggled from the age of five or six to conform to pressure to be and act what society considers female. In fact, they eventually conformed really well — wearing their hair long, applying makeup and dressing femininely. It was exhausting, they said. (CBC News)
  • US Air Force ordered to use gender-neutral language - media: The move is reportedly aimed at boosting the ‘lethality’ of the forces: US Air Force officers whose squadrons would be among those closest to the frontlines in case of any potential conflict with China have reportedly been ordered to use gender-neutral language in written reports under a policy that higher-ups claim will increase the “lethality” of America’s military. “We must embrace, promote and unleash the potential of diversity and inclusion,” according to an order emailed earlier this year to officers at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, which is part of the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). The Washington Free Beacon obtained a partial copy of the order and published it on Wednesday.Specifically, commanders will be prohibited from using references to pronouns, gender, age or race in such documents as performance reviews and award recommendations. For instance, instead of saying “he” or “she,” the commander must refer to the person with such language as “this sergeant” or “this member.” A commander wouldn’t be allowed to make such distinctions as the “youngest sergeant to achieve XYZ” or “the strongest female service member in the unit.” (Big News Network)
GenZ
  • 5 Ways Brands Can Support Gen Z through the Cost-Of-Living Crisis: A lot of us are feeling the squeeze at the moment, and that is especially true for gen z. Financial security is rarely the norm for 18-25-year olds, and increasing inflation is compounding this – with research from Deloitte finding the cost-of-living crisis has overtaken climate change as gen z’s leading concern. This new reality means gen z-ers must tighten the purse strings, with less income to spend on non-essential items like fashion, beauty and tech, as new UNiDAYS research shows an over 40% increase in spending on basic grocery shopping. While brands must accept this means less to spend on their products, they can also react to the changing landscape by offering understanding and support to gen z customers. With gen z already accounting for 40% of all consumers, making effort to support this apex consumer not only demonstrates a brand’s empathy today but also represents a savvy future investment. (Read More on LLBOnline)
  • Gen Z embraces gender fluid fashion: The fashion industry may be increasingly embracing gender-fluid fashion, but perhaps not fast enough for consumers, especially Gen Z. A report by payments specialist Klarna has looked into the rise of gender-fluid fashion and how attitudes towards it vary across generations. It found that Gen Z consumers are the biggest adopters of gender-fluid fashion, with 58% of shoppers in this age group having purchased a fashion item outside of their gender identity. This is followed by 40% of Millennials, only 22% of Gen Xs and just 11% of Baby Boomers. Some 21% of consumers said they wear gender-fluid fashion “as a social statement” and 16% “to align with their gender expression”.  Interestingly though, across demographics, comfort is key, ranking as the top reason why 53% of consumers sometimes favour fashion outside of their gender identity. This is understandably particularly high among females surveyed (63%), while males focus on design as a key focus (43%). The survey also showed 79% of men and women looking to purchase more gender-fluid clothing in the future. (Read More on Fashion Network)
  • Is Madonna’s son the new face of gender-fluid fashion? Move over Harry Styles – 16-year-old David Banda wears anything from Adidas x Gucci dresses and black tuxedos to Elsa Schiaparelli womenswear: Just like his iconic mother did 20 years before he was even born, Madonna’s son David Banda is also subverting norms and breaking down barriers. The 16-year-old footballer and aspiring artist appears to be embracing a more gender-fluid personal style of late, proudly strutting in dresses and designer womenswear brands at high-profile events – often with his fashion-forward mum by his side. One of Banda’s more recent gender-bending fashion forays almost broke the internet when, back in May, he wore a form-fitting red dress from the Adidas x Gucci collection, a design inspired by the outfit that Madonna herself wore to the 1993 premiere of Sleepless in Seattle. (Read More on Style)
News from Around the World
  • Men In Sarees: Is Genderless Fashion The New Norm?(India): Pushpak Sen from Kolkata recently made headlines when he appeared in Florence, Italy, wearing a saree. But he is not the only one. A number of men from India have slowly, but steadily come out, breaking fashion myths by draping the nine yards. Genderless fashion has been gaining designers’ attention for quite some years, but suddenly the power has now shifted to the streets. One might argue that gender roles are socially constructed. Women and men should act and dress in a certain socially construed and pre-approved manner. And fashion is one of the biggest ways of assigning gender. But over the last few years, more and more men have come out to expose their desires, styles and create more space for sexuality and gender identity. And one of the biggest ways of doing so is by breaking the division between feminine and the masculine. Genderless fashion is nothing more than the freedom of people to choose how they want to dress, and a few men are doing it in style! Vinay N, a Mumbai-based journalist and queer rights activist says ‘genderless fashion is the future.’ (Read More on India Currents)
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Generation Genderless
Generation Genderless

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