Bridging the Runway Gender Divide

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Gucci just announced at this year’s New York Times International Luxury conference in Versailles, France, that they will be moving toward mixed gender fashion shows as of 2017 and will no longer hold separate men’s line and women’s line fashion shows. Although Gucci is getting a lot of the hype, they are not the only ones focused on ending the gender divide on the runway. Other brands that are making a gender neutral move include Burberry – who have already shown men’s and women’s lines on the runway together, like in their 2014 autumn/winter collections – as well as Tom Ford, and Vetements. Reid Rohling & Leo Bruno for D’SCENE Magazine

Indeed, with perpetuated trends of androgynous designs hitting the runway, the division of the sexes on the runway itself is rather antiquated. The separation into menswear and womenswear too for that matter is slowly becoming outdated. Designers like Gucci are embracing a new notion of clothing in general and a concept of collections that establish a unified brand across genders.

Leroy-MMSCENE-Magazone-03-620x802 Leroy for MMSCENE Magazine by Lucio Aru & Franco Erre

On the other hand, the luxury watch industry has been blurring this divide for quite some time now. As this article on the Baselworld watch fair discusses, these types of events are a first look at the range of watch manufacturers and are displayed to an equally large audience. This is a great chance for watch brands to blur the lines within their products themselves and their marketing and sales demographics. Almost every designer brand – Cartier, Rolex, Humbolt, Omega, Chanel, Bell & Ross, among many others – has created unisex models, a practice which is certainly not new. While some brands even embrace an opposite gender consumer base for a gender-specific design – women wearing men’s watches for example – and market towards this demographic as well.

This is a trend which is now beginning to show up in the clothing industry as well. As the lines blur and the rules change, the entire concept of a gendered product begins to dwindle. These unisex or genderless watch models serve to promote the brand and the product of a superior timepiece as a unified concept, instead of divided into the gender constructs of men’s vs. women’s watches.

FFF-04-620x929 D’SCENE The FFF featuring Kiara Rigdell

As far as this adoption of gender fluidity in clothing goes, Agender, a unisex branch of the Selfridges brand, is a great example of the blurring of the divide between genders within the fashion world. As we begin to think of collections as brand lines and clothing instead of as men’s clothing or women’s clothing, we open ourselves up to an entire new world of opportunities. And although some critics are calling this move by Gucci revolutionary, perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is evolutionary and the next logical step in our current sociological development and a representation of our current cultural zeitgeist. Of course it could also be the latest marketing ploy, but time will tell if this new playground is a definite game changer for fashion as we know it.