H&M Launches New Gender Fluid Denim Collection | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

H&M Launches New Gender Fluid Denim Collection

Life&Style writer Lucy Harkins explains the relevance of H&M's newest unisex denim collection within our modern society

The Swedish fashion retailer, H&M, has launched an online-exclusive unisex clothing range that comprises of a variety of statement denim pieces and is exclusively available now on the US website, hm.com. The gender neutral ‘Denim United’ collection, which arrived on 23rd March, attempts to blur the lines between masculine and feminine fashion by creating soft jersey and light denim which is perfect for the spring/summer season. The 19-piece collection includes oversized jackets, loose-fitting shirts and relaxed fit jeans and sizes range from XS to XL in an attempt to cater for all shapes and sizes. In line with H&M’s new direction towards sustainable style, the denim range is also made from eco-friendly materials.

But the real question remains – Could this collection make a place for unisex clothing on the high street and mark a modern direction for fashion?

The store is one of the first high street retailers to launch a unisex collection that is not gender-specific, moving away from the conventional labels that dominate the fashion industry. H&M’s ad-campaign promotes neutral style in their promotional shots and videos which removes the typical gender stereotypes we frequently see in the fashion and beauty industries, such as sexualised perfume adverts. Instead, the Swedish retailer draws parallels between the models (one male, one female) in maintaining natural, minimalist makeup and identical outfit styling.

In a move that successfully abandons gender constructs, this clearly marks a milestone for the progression of the fashion industry in the 21st century
Popular women’s magazines such as Elle, Harpers Bazaar and Cosmopolitan have already discussed the launch of H&M’s clothing line and have reacted favourably to the collection. With the likes of Cara Delevingne and Rihanna already embracing relaxed-look apparel and throwing on menswear clothing, H&M appears to be moving one step further in order to make these styles available to the general public in local high street stores. In a statement, a spokesperson for H&M said: “It is very natural for us to launch a unisex collection as fashion is constantly evolving and intersecting and today we see there are no boundaries in democratic style. Fashion should always be inclusive.”

What makes unisex clothing so relevant to the fashion industry of today? Well, in our modern society, there is an increasing number of people that identify as gender fluid and transgender. Ultimately, this means there is greater need than ever to merge the lines between masculine and feminine style. But H&M is not completely alone in this mission. The gender neutral collection follows in the footsteps of Selfridges’ ‘Agender’ edit which launched back in March 2015 and defines the range as ‘a celebration of fashion without definition’. Both Denim United and Agender are clearly built on the same premise – to rid us of the need to place a name on gender and fashion.

Denim United’s launch clearly made a statement and it will be interesting to see whether it provokes a similar sort of reaction from customers in the coming weeks. In a move that successfully abandons gender constructs, this clearly marks a milestone for the progression of the fashion industry in the 21st century, particularly for high street fashion retailers. If one thing’s for sure – there is a long way to go before unisex fashion becomes mainstream fashion.

I am currently in my final year studying BA English Literature and French Studies at the University of Birmingham. I spent my year abroad in Montpellier, France where I improved my language skills, travelled around Europe and studied at Paul Valery Montpellier 3. I am from Leicestershire and write for Travel and Life & Style.


25th April 2017 at 8:00 am

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