The Future Of Retail Is Genderless

The image of Harry Styles in a Gucci dress on Vogue’s December cover proved so controversial that it became international news—and not for the obvious reason that it’s Harry f**king Styles and he looks amazing! Even politicians weighed in on the Tyler Mitchell–lensed photoshoot in which Styles, who is far from the first, or even the most provocative gent to slip into a dress, wears several frocks by Gucci, Chopova Lowena, Wales Bonner, and Harris Reed. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for the record, thought Styles looked “bomb,” but at its core, the dress debate highlighted an issue that plagues much of the fashion world and the world at large: the gender binary. Let’s state the obvious: A piece of fabric, a textile, or a garment has no gender. This is an indisputable fact! But for as long as fashion has existed as a codified set of seasons, fashion shows, and trends, it has worked under the assumption that gender exists in a binary. Every aspect of the fashion system is beholden to the segregated ideas of menswear and womenswear: universities, fashion weeks, retail floors, e-commerce websites, modeling agency boards, and even creative directorships are divided down gender lines. Many within the industry have begun to remedy this fractured system, but the industry at large must ask itself: How can we represent the spectrum of gender in a more inclusive and realistic way? Read more at Vogue.