Zara has created an “ungendered” section on their website – featuring unisex basics including t-shirts, tracksuits and jeans modeled by both a male and female model and ‘designed’ to be worn by any gender.
The photos on the website have been met with mixed reviews. Bustle comments that the decision is evidence of “how progressive the beloved store is”, but counter comments by Buzzfeed challenge that the design offerings are less than inspiring.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) March 7, 2016
Too there’s the way the clothes are presented – Zara opted out of showing the collection on gender non-conforming models demonstrating that the “ungendered” range really does seem to be just for men and women, instead of anyone that defines more fluidly.
Gender identity is a big topic that has been brought to the fore over the last year with pop-culture cattle shifting impacts- examples include Jaden Smith’s decision to wear skirts (including in a Louis Vuitton womenswear campaign) and Miley Cyrus’s announcement that she self-defines as gender fluid.
A better role model in the “ungendered” fashion movement would likely be Alessandro Michele who has been hailed for his gender-fluid vision for Gucci – where boys are seen donning pussybow blouses and jeweled rings.
Zara’s inclusion of an “ungendered” design section to their online store, while seemingly progressive, lacks the creativity one would come to expect from the trend-making brand. Unfortunately the casual basics they have corralled and rebranded as unisex clothing appears to be little more than a weak publicity stunt.