Now more than ever, fashion brands are breaking down barriers with inclusive, gender-neutral designs that reassure shoppers they don’t need to feel pressured to choose within the boundaries of women’s or men’s clothing labels. Most importantly, they’ve picked up on the need for more gender-inclusive clothing options in general.
The number of Canadians who identify as non-binary, gender-neutral or gender non-conforming is significant. Wattpad’s The Gen Z Census reports that 44 per cent of Gen Z-ers know a non-binary person, 49 per cent know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, 34 per cent know someone who is gender fluid, and 33 per cent know someone who is gender non-conforming. Meanwhile, Lyst’s Year in Fashion report found a 52 per cent increase in searches for the terms ‘genderless’ and ‘gender-neutral’ in 2019.
While global brands like Converse have launched their own genderless clothing lines, Canadian brands have also taken up the torch. Providing options that shift focus from gender identity to size and fit, here’s seven Canadian fashion brands to shop for gender-neutral clothing today.
1. Pley Clothes
Children’s clothing is still heavily divided into ‘blue for boys and pink for girls’, but Vancouver-based Pley Clothes is here to change that. Simple, refined and designed in neutral colour palettes and shapes, Pley makes clothing for kids ages three to twelve that aren’t defined by gender. Plus, the label’s neutral designs make handing them down to younger siblings easier than ever.
2. Spencer Badu
Toronto-born Spencer Badu, who attended the Fashion Institute at Olds College in Calgary, has been challenging gender norms with his unisex designs since 2015. His industrial yet ultra modern Spring/Summer 2020 collection is inspired by nighttime and the Detroit techno scene. His pieces masterfully mix what’re considered traditional masculine and feminine cuts to become something entirely non-conforming.
3. Shop Take Care
If you’re keen on buying old instead of new, Winnipeg-based Shop Take Care offers a gender-inclusive shopping experience at their online and brick-and-mortar consignment shops. A safe space for all gender expressions and identities, the store is organized by colour rather than gender.
While the company itself is based in Israel, Celinununu is a gender-neutral collaboration with Canada’s national treasure, Céline Dion. According to the brand’s manifesto, “Celinununu liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect.”
5. Cassandra Elizabeth
Cassandra Elizabeth’s clothes are genderless, seasonless and ageless. Ethically made in Toronto, her line is sustainable and offers a loose, street style aesthetic that’s made for lounging, working out, sleeping and working.
Canadian social media star Inanna Sarkis and her brother just launched a new genderless capsule collection, VISUS, that aims to support COVID-19 relief efforts. A streetwear brand for those who started with “nothing but a vision”, a portion of the proceeds from all sales will be donated to the International Medical Corps (IMC).
Founded in Toronto, Muttonhead is a 100 per cent gender-neutral brand designed for all ages, shapes and sizes. Rather than organizing the brand’s website into male and female clothing categories, its organized by style. Muttonhead designs have a quintessentially Canadian look, from cozy cabin socks to buffalo plaid shirts.