China’s fashion landscape has witnessed a transformative shift in recent years, as the lines distinguishing men’s and women’s wear have increasingly blurred. Genderless, or gender-neutral fashion, emerges not just as a fleeting trend but as a potent statement of individuality and cultural evolution.
Mentions of this fashion-forward movement on the influential platform Red (Xiaohongshu) have seen a surge, doubling in just half a year, and still maintaining a steady growth rate averaging 16% per month.
In our deep-dive today, we shall explore:
- Defining Nuances: Essence of Genderless Fashion in China
- Pulse of the Trend: A detailed sentiment analysis unveiling the demographics engrossed by this trend and what magnetizes them to its allure
- Trendsetters & Trailblazers: Unraveling categories at the forefront of the genderless wave
- Brands in Focus: A curated spotlight on premium, luxury labels, and emergent designer brands shaping this revolution
The analysis is empowered by Doris, WalktheChat In-house A.I. Social Listening Tool.
With an unwavering momentum, Genderless Fashion discussions have amplified, registering a consistent monthly growth of 16%.
This avant-garde movement is characterized by its androgynous silhouettes and a curated palette of neutral tones such as different shades of black and grey, boldly challenging and reshaping conventional gender boundaries.
Delving into the specifics, Fashion Apparel still commands the spotlight in this discourse, while handbag and footwear subtly complements the broader narrative.
Despite its ethos of shattering traditional norms, it’s intriguing to note that the pulse of the gender-neutral fashion movement beats strongest among females embracing ‘boyish’ aesthetics – they dominate over 80% of the conversation.
So, what’s the allure?
Delving deeper, our analysis reveals that a significant 12.85% of posts on genderless fashion resonate with the term “boyishness” (少年感) – a contemporary digital-age vernacular capturing a youthful, spirited energy.
This trend isn’t just about sartorial choices; it’s a nuanced narrative, challenging deeply-rooted Asian cultural prescriptions and expectations of gender representation.
In today’s fast-paced world, many are drawn to the uncomplicated allure of genderless fashion.
Beyond just breaking gender norms, this movement champions a relaxed and effortless aesthetic. Oversized, free-flowing silhouettes stand out as a hallmark, offering consumers a seamless blend of style and comfort for everyday wear.
Our study further underscores this sentiment: a notable 6.08% of genderless fashion discussions highlight “oversize” as a key theme, reflecting a growing priority of comfy and “feel-good” aesthetics in consumers’ daily choices.
In a categorical breakdown, sweatshirts stood out as the leading genderless apparel for September, capturing over 20% of the social mentions linked to Genderless Fashion. Their rise can be attributed to the dipping temperatures, positioning sweatshirts as a universally adaptable and effortless fashion staple.
Additionally, jackets and cargo pants are gaining traction, frequently highlighted in top-trending social discussions, outpacing other categories in engagement.
When pinpointing brands at the forefront of the genderless fashion movement, Uniqlo shines as the quintessential choice for the broader audience, especially this September.
The U series is distinctly promoted for its androgynous appeal, exemplified by male influencers who proudly showcase acquisitions from the women’s collection, such as versatile pieces like the trench coat.
In parallel, the renowned French designer brand, Lemaire, known for its minimalist and ageless aesthetics, often finds itself in the spotlight of social conversations. Notably, Uniqlo’s U Series is often touted as the “budget-friendly alternative” to Lemaire, further emphasizing its influence and reach.
Rising Chinese designer brand, Grotto, is pioneering in the genderless handbag arena.
Embodying ‘Born for Freedom’ in its DNA, Grotto employs materials like sheepskin to craft signature designs, mimicking the texture of rocks with uneven creases in the leather.
Despite global challenges like the pandemic, the brand’s Tmall sales have grown 56.5% YOY over the past three years. Emphasizing its commitment to gender-neutral fashion, Grotto continues to reinforce its gender-neutral positioning by expanding collections in this trend, with over 60% of the Tmall revenue coming from products labeled with “genderless” keyword. The brand expertly taps into this rising trend, continually resonating with its core audience.
Genderless handbags prioritize functionality, often showcased in a muted color palette.
These versatile bags, characterized by ample capacity and predominantly in black, cater to daily commutes or brief excursions, resonating with a broad spectrum of consumers irrespective of gender.
In the world of luxury fashion, brands are embracing the genderless movement with fervor.
GUCCI, under the helm of Alessandro Michele in the past 10 years, has been at the forefront of this revolution. Embodying a Retro Renaissance flair, the brand’s designs are replete with embellishments, creating a maximalist spectacle that epitomizes Gender Fluidity. This approach has resonated deeply with younger generations, reaffirming GUCCI’s position in the luxury segment.
GUCCI’s outerwear, encompassing jackets and sportswear collections, resonates universally, transcending gender boundaries. The brand’s timeless aesthetics and effortless elegance appeal to a broad spectrum of enthusiasts, underscoring its unparalleled appeal in the luxury fashion realm.
However, with Sabato De Sarno now steering the creative ship, GUCCI appears to be revisiting its subtle luxury DNA during its “golden age” – roughly from late 1960s through the 1980s. As we progress into 2023 and beyond, it will be intriguing to witness the evolution and adaptability of this esteemed French luxury house amidst the ever-evolving fashion landscape.
In addition to established European luxury labels, emerging premium Asian brands are making significant inroads in the gender-neutral fashion movement.
Yohji Yamamoto is celebrated for his avant-garde approach, melding Japanese tradition with modern flair.
Noted for his frequent use of black, his designs often showcase oversized, draped silhouettes and impeccable tailoring. By blending menswear and womenswear elements, Yamamoto crafts pieces that transcend gender norms, all underpinned by a distinct blend of rebellious spirit and poetic melancholy.
Chinese designer brand TOFOURTH stands out with genderless designs captivating the young, style-conscious demographic.
Embracing the motto “Nothing is Perfect,” the brand delves into the nuances of fashion, blending innovation with distinction, and simplicity with serenity. Celebrated for its avant-garde ethos, TOFOURTH is a go-to choice for contemporary fashion enthusiasts.
Driven by younger generations’ desire for self-expression, Genderless Fashion movement challenges traditional gender norms and embraces a more inclusive, fluid perspective on style.
The appeal of genderless fashion in China lies in its amalgamation of edgy designs with an effortless allure, capturing the zeitgeist of contemporary urban youth.
Domestic and international brands have taken note, launching collections catering to this evolving sartorial sentiment. Yet, it’s not just about androgynous cuts or oversized silhouettes; it’s about redefining what fashion means in the context of identity. From wide-legged trousers to innovative fabric juxtapositions, these designs are lauded for their versatility, allowing wearers to craft a uniquely look.
In tandem with global movements championing gender fluidity and diversity, China’s genderless fashion wave symbolizes a broader societal shift. The nation’s youth are not just wearing their clothes; they’re wearing their values, beliefs, and aspirations.
In a rapidly modernizing and globalizing society, the embrace of genderless fashion signifies a step towards a more open, accepting future where style is limitless and self-expression knows no bounds.