Are Gender-Neutral Stores The Future Of Shopping?

Photo: Courtesy of Nicopanda.
If dressing alike is the key to a healthy relationship for couples, then Selfridges is making it a whole lot easier with its new retail promotion. Dubbed the Agender Project, this in-store experience bills itself as “a fashion exploration of the masculine, the feminine, and the interplay…found in between."

WWD reports that the London department store aims to “take…customers on a journey where they can choose to shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes.” Obviously, this concept extends far beyond taking inspiration from your significant other’s closet.
Selfridges will feature a three-floor display of the retailer’s unisex lines — including a capsule collection from Nicopanda, Nicola Formichetti’s brand (the same line will also be available in the U.S. and online exclusively via  Opening Ceremony). The Agender Project will also feature clothing from gender-bending labels like Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh, and Ann Demeulemeester. Rather than displaying male and female mannequins, Selfridges will use photography, film, and music to show the collections in a non-gender-specific way.

The concept definitely comes at an appropriate time. Female models are making cameos during Men’s Fashion Week, designers are using their own shows to make statements about gender (looking at you, Rick Owens!), and Saks just came under fire for discrimination against a trans* employee.

Still, Linda Hewson, Selfridges’ creative director, insists that Agender is not about trends or fashion buzzwords. Rather, it’s “tapping into a mind-set and acknowledging and responding to a cultural shift that is happening now. The project will act as a test bed for experimentation around ideas of gender — both to allow our shoppers to approach the experience without preconceptions and for us as retailers to move the way we shop fashion forward."

The Selfridges Agender project will run from March 12 through the end of April. (WWD)
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