Is the future of fashion gender fluid?

The growing influence of Gen-Z is helping shape the new landscape of gender-bending fashion brands and retail experiences. We speak to Scandi label Rains and Open Studio’s Sara Hildén Bengtsson about where unisex fashion is set to head next

As an industry largely built on the idea of self-expression, the movements of the fashion world have long been intertwined with wider societal discussions about gender and identity. Over the last few years, we’ve begun to see non-binary models such as Hunter Schafer and Indya Moore make waves on the catwalk. Meanwhile, in pop culture, the cult of Harry Styles is arguably as much down to his penchant for flowing silhouettes and frills as his music, resulting in him becoming the face of Gucci under creative director Alessandro Michele, and Billie Eilish has reclaimed the expression ‘tomboy’ with her oversized streetwear looks and various-shades-of-fluoro hairdos, much to the delight of her angsty teen fanbase.

As with other industries, fashion brands are having to move fast in the hope of keeping up with the demands of their rapidly changing customer base. Even the differences between millennials and Gen-Z are stark: a 2016 study by J. Walter Thompson found that 48% of Gen-Zs identified as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65% of millennials, and only 44% said they always bought clothes designed for their own gender, versus 54% of millennials. With Gen-Z boasting an estimated $143 billion worth of spending power, it’s not surprising that the fashion world has been more willing to embrace the idea of gender fluidity of late.

Mother’s recent campaign for online retailer Zalando


Milton Keynes