"Lazy" is the first word which springs to mind when taking a first look at Spanish fashion power house Zara’s recent "Ungendered" collection... quickly followed by "dissapointing" and "boring". Whilst hitching their ride to the non-binary band-wagon they manage to completely isolate the point of launching a unisex line in the first place. Boasting exciting neutral shades of grey, white and blue, this 10-piece collection while wearable and affordable, is pretty much any other store’s masculine lounge wear.
Undeniably this is a step for those who do not submit to the established gender binaries of ‘male’ and ‘female’ within the realms of fashion. Recognition is never a bad thing, and having the option of not having to choose a gender in a shop with as large a reach as Zara is certainly a move forward. Since 2016 has been so important for transgender rights and the exploration of gender fluid movements, such as Jaden Smith appearing in Louis Vuitton’s new spring collection rocking a skirt, it’s unsurprising that unisex lines have started appearing on our high-streets.
What is surprising however is the lack of imagination and commitment Zara’s minimalistic collection exhibits. I’m forced to ask; where are the unisex skirts? The dresses, the accessories, the suits?
Talking to upcoming dress history graduate, Rowen, she claims Zara, “hasn’t done much to address the true neglect in the fashion industry of those who feel that they don’t belong/conform to an assigned gender”. Discussing the basic sweatshirts and t-shirts that they’ve branded ‘genderless’, well ‘surely those things are already universal’ right? There’s no groundbreaking pieces, no use of trying to truly understand what a genderless collection could be, because honestly there’s no limit to a neutral collection, all clothes are unisex in my opinion. What pushes us forward is what an increasingly inclusive society we are becoming. Yet how obsessed we still tend to be with assigning certain things to certain genders, such as clothing, stunts that progressive growth and thought.
I can already hear how people will defend this line, saying it’s difficult to create a unisex line which satisfies everyone… that they kept it simple to avoid controversy and offense, well to that I say; poppycock.
I wanted to be slayed and instead was left confused and jaded.
You can see the right way to create a neutral line in Selfridges ‘Agender’ collection which is so extensive and committed to bringing light to the issue and clothes to the people that it’s difficult to see how Zara could have gone so wrong. Please don’t get me wrong, this collection is amazing in terms of recognition within the industry, and especially for easily accessible and affordable high-street fashion, but really? Zara’s line lacks three main components; commitment, style, and effort.
I mean, come on, what’s not unisex about every other white t-shirt out there?