Unisex Is the New Universal!

Unisex Is the New Universal!

Ok, let's be honest – the age-old concept of only men can wear menswear and vice versa is so last season. In a world where the likes of supermodel Cara Delevinge and Twilight baby Kristen Stewart can pull off – or, in this case, pull on rather – men’s Dior suits and Chanel tweed jackets respectively; where Pose superstar Billy Porter shut down the Met Gala red carpet in a Christian Siriano tuxedo gown, who’s to say what's designed specifically for men and women anymore?

Today, our Gen Z population wants to exude a mix of masculinity and femininity – a no holds barred, chameleonic version of themselves, especially when it comes to fashion, what they wear, clothes, and even perfume. Women love to boast an androgynous edge, while men might not want to ooze brawn all the time! And today’s fastest-selling perfume collections include musky masculine tones in women’s scents and subtler florals in men's. 

Change is upon us

Several thousand years ago, when God created Adam and Eve and drew the chalk line between male and female, today’s brave new generation is blurring the line, or rather wiping it clean, particularly in terms of cultural perception, looks, and fashion. Borders are getting diffused. And a new world order is emerging. An entirely new, vibrant community is ushering in this change, and it's time for us to take in this change too.

And it's not just the celebs who are changing the world into gender-neutral mode. If you’re a mighty millennial yourself, haven't you ever faced a situation where you and your mom are taking a peaceful stroll down your neighbourhood road, indulging in some typical parent-teen banter, which normally indicates absolutely contrasting points of view…when, suddenly, down the street, out saunters a young man nonchalantly flaunting a skirt and boots! Mom is scandalised, while you’re already uploading photos on your Insta feed with #NewGenZOnTheBlock (New Jenny On The Block).

You see, this is one of those typical scenarios where mom would do her signature eye roll, go "tch tch, sigh," and loudly wonder what the world is coming to. However, you would probably giggle at her outmoded reaction while telling her that guys donning skirts these days is the NEW NORMAL, just as more and more girls can now be seen in buzz cuts that could be coloured anything between neon blue to shocking pink, and still garner head turns and winks!

Unisex in terms of look, fashion, personal grooming, and overall attitude is getting cooler and more acceptable by the minute, especially among Gen Z. No more Mr. / Mrs Just Z! The times are definitely a-changin', and our Gen X will have to accept it too – but in baby steps.

Unisex is the new Black!

‘Unisex’, is the new way of thinking; it’s all about inclusion, diversity, and gender neutrality, and this concept is fast emerging in fashion, jewellery and perfumes. Gender distinctions are getting diluted, and the defined rules and roles are fast disappearing. Designers and fashion houses are responding to this evolution. The lookbooks are changing. There are both male and female models in it! Designers are getting more creative and daring. A broader range of genders is being showcased in fashion shows as well as in print.

Brands and designers are launching their own genderless collections. Inhabit came out with its first genderless collection last fall. Norma Kamali changed her store brand to a unisex label last year. More designers are launching gender-fluid collections. In fact, global leaders like H&M and Zara are also attempting to launch a genderless collection. Words like "unisex" and "gender-neutral" are used to refer to genderless collections, though they are oriented to one gender. Official Rebrand is a genderless label that has coined the term "gender-free". Also, regular genderless garments are either oversized or shapeless. In fact, for several decades, women have worn regular men’s wear, such as shirts, pants, and suits.

"56% of Gen Z consumers shop "outside their assigned gendered area."

Rob Smith, founder Phluid Project 

"Gen Z is begging for the non-binary language. It takes a lot of learning and unlearning."

Head of PR at Phluid Project, Christina Zervanos 

In fact, genderless fashion has boomed for the last 2-3 years and has slowly penetrated other arenas. Garments apart, fashionistas are also flaunting unisex jewellery - rings, chains, and bracelets in making their fashion statements. The whiff of change has embraced perfumes too. 

More and more women are selecting men’s perfumes - strong, leathery, woody notes that accentuate their bold, sensual side. Our Gen Z has changed the rules of the aroma arena, and we are heading into a world where perfumes, too, are gender-neutral. In fact, several unisex perfume brands, like Boy Smells, Snif, Byredo, and Malin + Goetz, are ushering in a new fragrance.

"Calvin Klein, in the 90s, was the first fashion house to launch ‘CK One’ as a unisex scent, creating a revolution that redefined the perfume industry."

In fact, worldwide, the move towards gender fluidity is already impacting the perfume dynamic. There is a drop in the number of launches of subtle women-specific fragrances. The demand for stronger notes is increasing. The 18–30 age group is willing to experiment with gender-neutral scents.

Going forward, it definitely "smells" like exciting times await the couture perfume industry. People are getting more and more comfortable in their own skin to bear their true selves and scent on their skin. So, on this "note" let’s do away with gender-specific labels and give a resounding "yes" to a whiff of unisexuality!