New York Fashion Week holds tremendous sway over the global fashion industry. And if this year’s trend towards genderless fashion is any indication, the same can also be said for Generation Z.
Since 1943, New York Fashion Week — along with its other major fashion week “siblings” in Paris, London and Milan — has influenced fashion trends throughout the world. For one cold week in early February, models parade their way down catwalks wearing the latest creations of globally-acclaimed fashion designers. It then becomes the job of major clothing retailers to sift through this boldly contrasting assemblage of colors and patterns, and translate it into everyday clothes that people will wear.
Noticeable this year among the colors and patterns was a fashion trend that’s becoming a signature feature of Generation Z: namely “gender-neutral” fashion... which is pretty much another way of saying, “Clothes that can be worn by men and women alike.”
New York Fashion Week and its Gen(derless) Z future
This year, designers like Madrid-based Alejandro Palomo and Los Angeles-based Pierre Davis (the latter being the first transgender designer to ever showcase her works at New York Fashion Week) featured men’s collections that were a mix of genderless and traditional. These collections follow closely “on the heels” of non-binary fashion collections which have already become the haute couture norm for women, and demonstrates the growing cultural influence of Gen Z, of whom only 66 percent identify as exclusively heterosexual, according to a recent global study by Ipsos Mari.
Gender fluidity, as it turns out, is just not that a big deal to the vast majority of Gen Zs; nor are its implications on global fashion. In a recent survey by Gucci examining Gen Zers’ attitudes towards gender-neutral clothing, one 20-year-old survey respondent (“Megan”) had this to say on the subject of glasses: “I really dislike when products are gendered that don’t need to be... I was in middle school, and my mom wouldn’t let me get [glasses] because they were in the men’s section. They are just GLASSES!”
A gender-free dress code may be the new normal
It’s no secret that New York Fashion Week commands an oversized influence with fashion retailers the world over. What’s trotted out on the runways of New York becomes the marching orders for the industry during the coming sales year. With $1.2 trillion spent globally on clothes annually, that’s a considerable level of influence indeed. With Gen Zers’ dismantling of old notions of what’s considered “masculine” and “feminine,” expect genderless clothing sales to rise over the coming years.