PICS: Underwear is the latest category of clothing to go gender-free
While some people see it as a 'fad' gender-neutral fashion is gradually making its way onto the shelves of major fashion brands.
Picture: Courtesy of Etam
Gender-neutral, unisex, or mixed-gender fashion is no longer an exception to the rule. These days, a multitude of brands are launching ready-to-wear collections designed for everyone. And while the lingerie sector might seem to be the last bastion against the shattering of gender stereotypes, it too now seems ready to embrace a new era where panties, thongs, underpants, and bras are the business of all bodies, without distinction.
While some people continue to see it as a ‘fad’ or ‘gimmick,’ it is clear that gender-neutral fashion is gradually making its way onto the shelves of major fashion brands, as well as top luxury labels, such as Gucci. The Italian brand has made it a signature move in order to appeal to the famous – and indomitable – Gen Z, proposing on its e-shop a section entirely dedicated to non-binary fashion, Gucci MX. The giants of ready-to-wear – fast fashion, ethical fashion, luxury, etc. Numerous giants of the ready-to-wear industry – fast fashion, ethical fashion, luxury, etc. – are now working in this “niche” that challenges fashion’s long-established gender codes.
The end of stereotypes in view?
The lingerie sector has been slower to emancipate itself from gendered norms, but it is now starting — slowly but surely — its transformation. It’s not a question of exchanging its ultra-feminine, at times sexy, collections for mixed lines essentially focused on comfort, but of bringing it all together. After shattering certain edicts related to beauty, and more particularly to thinness, with a (wider) range of sizes, or even the introduction of ‘one size fits all‘ models, underwear brands are gradually introducing non-gendered lingerie pieces into their collections. While they still may not be in the majority, there is no doubt that there is increasing competition in the segment of underwear for (absolutely) all gender expressions and identities.
In France and Europe, the brand Undiz, whose main target is Generation Z, is among the first to have taken the step. In the summer of 2021, the label unveiled the ‘No Gender’ capsule composed of mixed-gender ready-to-wear and intimate pieces. But it’s Etam, with the ‘I/ELLE/S’ collection, that really made a statement last spring. The century-old French-based family business, which has a large international presence, has broken free of traditional codes to design a collection with neutral cuts that challenge any notion of gender. Focusing on comfort and freedom of movement, the collection includes for the first time boyleg or shorties, bodysuits, briefs and bras for all genders. Not content with fulfilling the expectations of those who no longer wish to be defined by boxes, the brand also aims to change attitudes on the subject..
Lingerie that embraces inclusiveness
Meanwhile, outside of Europe some brands seem to be well ahead of the game, like Cantiq Los Angeles, or Cantiq LA, which offers its sexiest bodysuits and underwear in a range for all. Transparent fabrics, lace, bralettes, and shortues are no longer reserved for women. And the cherry on the cake is that it is not a specific collection, but a single range for all its customers.
Similarly, Boy Smells, initially known for its candles and perfumes, has launched the ‘Unmentionables’ collection, designed for all body types and gender identities. Designed in a comfortable fabric, it also features neutral cuts, to fit all bodies, and is composed of bralettes, panties, shorts, and boxers.
Since lingerie was until now essentially for women — with women’s collections traditionally much more diverse and extensive — it is these so-called “feminine” pieces that now seem to appeal to the customers who previously felt excluded from such ranges. But they’re not the only consumers. Boxer shorts and briefs, previously reserved for men, are now also popular with everyone. Something that the brand Lucky Skivvies has understood by proposing non-gender specific long boxers in a wide range of sizes and patterns that should leave no one indifferent.
Examples that prove that gender-neutral lingerie is not just a niche but rather becoming a real segment in the shelves of many brands and stores. It’s not about putting an end to traditional underwear, but about making sure that lingerie embraces all genders.