Gender Neutral vs. Androgynous Fashion
& WHY THEY ARE DIFFERENT
Now please bare in mind I am trained primarily as a womenswear designer, which is why I feel the need to explain androgynous fashion and gender fluid clothing are not the same thing. Androgynous is defined as:
- partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex.
Whereas if we take a look at the definition of gender neutral:
suitable for, applicable to, or common to both male and female genders.
"gender-neutral games and toys"
denoting a word or expression that cannot be taken to refer to one gender only."gender-neutral terms like flight attendant, firefighter, and police officer"
Xandra Jane designs in smart proportions and innovative concepts to produce garments complimentary to both male and female physique, however this does not restrict either gender from styling it to best suit them. Take our CRYS Open Back Kimono:
The same garment can be transformed by the wearer to reflect the style they wish to portray. By cinching the waist in with a belt, the loose silhouette becomes an enticing, powerful celebration of the female form offering subtle references to an oversized shirt dress and perfect addition to any summer wardrobe.
Gender neutral fashion does not need to scream tom-boy nor feminine wearer unless the person enveloped in the clothing does so wish.
The challenge when designing gender neutral clothing falls down to proportions. This was my first big learning experience when moving forward with ZERO. The design process repeatedly being passed back and forth between myself and my artisan Stacie, led to an outcome of a refined tailored fit upon a man with broader shoulders and an oversized, perfectly chic jumper/jumper dress for my female wearer.
The elasticity with ZERO pieces loosens over time resolving any sleeve length issues and adding charm to the garment with a relaxed silhouette. They improve over time and age with character.
The ambition of providing a one size fits both genders product was an incredibly enjoyable challenge, but a challenge none the less. Perfecting these proportions has allowed me to carry them through Xandra Jane feeding into future collections.
I imagine the initial inspiration for this approach stemmed from my time working for luxury streetwear brands where I would wear any male loose fit t-shirts and dresses. My gender neutral clothing can not only be passed down through generations but passed between genders, which I must admit adds a wonderfully endearing and ethical extra to my designs. If I do say so myself.