Italian-Japanese fashion director and editor Nicola Formichetti has created a new genderless clothing brand called Nicopanda, and it's becoming the next big thing to push gender-fluid fashion into the public eye. But before I talk about the brand, let's talk about the guy behind the label.
According to Mashable, Formichetti is a well-known guy, even if not by name (yet). He's stylist to Lady Gaga, used to work at top fashion magazines like Harper's Bazaar USA, and is the current artistic director of Diesel — launching avant garde campaigns that include ads on Porn Hub and YouPorn. Clearly, the man knows how to take risks when it comes to fashion, and risks that pay off.
His newest risk is a foray into agender designer lines. Mashable reported, "During New York fashion week in Sept. 2015, Formichetti's gender-fluid fashion brand Nicopanda had men in sheer pink tops, frilly dresses, and skirts." Not only that, but the whole line could easily end up in the closets of people of any gender identity. It's meant to move fluidly between the traditionally "male" and "female," whereby male models on the runway were outfitted in sheer dresses and frilly prairie skirts, while the female models strutted in bomber jackets and ambiguously-cut tops.
When Mashable asked Formichetti why his interest in agender clothing, he answered, "It's our job to provide as many options as possible for people to choose from so they can be whatever and whoever they want to be."
Seeing how a person's style is a highly personal and unique thing, that makes sense. Rather than people having to mold into what mainstream fashion thinks is appropriate or trendy, style should be there to offer a person options for how to best express themselves.
The line isn't necessarily what you'd call "neutral," though. There are frilly, hyper-feminine pieces, as well as tough and grungy items that create interesting contrasts against the more sugary palettes. This was all done intentionally. Formichetti told Mashable, "We also have to have more feminine and more masculine clothing because there are times when you'll want dress more masculine, more girly, or in between."
Formichetti's idea of agender clothing isn't so much creating clothing that hides gender, but rather creating clothing that anyone can wear, no matter their gender.
Formichetti's gender-fluid fashion brand Nicopanda isn't the only agender line in town. Below are three other brands that have been opening the gateways to gender-neutral clothing.
1. Selfridges' Genderless Pop-Up Store
Selfridges — a major UK department store — opened Agender, a genderless pop-up shop, as an experiment. It carried a medley of labels that easily moved between male and female styles, allowing all genders to easily shop among the brands.
2. Gucci's Fluid Men's Line
Gucci's 2015 A/W show did a solid job with gender-bending when it sent its male models down the runway wearing thrift-inspired chiffon pussy bow blouses, wool berets, and shrunken jackets with three quarter bell sleeves. All these styles are traditionally earmarked for women's lines, but Gucci asked why a man can't enjoy a good lace overlay, too?
3. Acne Studios' Fall 2015 Womenswear Campaign
Acne Studios' 2015 womenswear campaign was all about telling its audience that they are all able to make their own decisions when it comes to clothing, no matter what is advertised to them. This became clear when Acne featured a young boy inside a pastel pink overcoat and stacked reflective heels, thus proclaiming that it's not up to a label to tell us what gender a piece is meant for.
When Jonny Johansson, the creative director behind the campaign, was asked about the idea, he told WhoWhatWear, "I've seen this new generation's attitude to fashion where the cut, the shape, and the character of the garment is the crucial thing, rather than seeking approval from society or to follow set norms."
So whether you like to wear dresses or baggy jeans and tees, make your decisions about what to wear because of your personal preferences, not what magazine ads or editorial letters tell you. Here's to more gender fluid pieces in the upcoming seasons!
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Images: Courtesy Brands