What Do Merged Gender Shows Mean For Fashion?

With high-end brands merging both men and womenswear fashion shows together into one big presentation during fashion week, pilule what will this mix of both genders eventually mean for the fashion industry?

Let’s not beat around the bush, the fashion industry is forever changing. This isn’t much of a surprise, especially when it comes to the subject on the term gender, which impacts both high-street and high-end fashion. Look at all-time favourite Zara who introduced its version of a ‘genderless’ collection earlier this year. The Spanish clothing retailer launched its ‘ungendered’ collection, which was its very first non-gendered assortment. Consisting of mainly male clothing such as: tees, hoodies and jeans all in grey, white and navy, the collection was made for the retailer’s male and female consumer to wear the same item with ease.


The trend of genderless assortments is also seen in high-end fashion. For a long period, luxury fashion has been celebrating androgynous models and clothing. At the SS17 menswear fashion shows, a few female models were spotted ‘stealing’ the spotlight from their fellow male models on the catwalks of luxury brands including Givenchy and Prada.

Consequently, high-end fashion brands have been switching up their fashion show agendas. Earlier this year, British fashion label Vivienne Westwood announced that it will be showing men and womenswear together at London Collection’s Men in January 2017. This followed with luxury brands including Burberry and Bottega Veneta also merging their men and womenswear fashion shows for their SS17 collection in September. Other brands such as Gucci is said to be doing the same next year.


Combining both men and womenswear may initially seem like the ideal thing to do, when considering today’s economic climate. Brands who usually show men and womenswear separately may be able to save money by merging the collections into one big show hosted on the date of the womenswear shows. However, this may undeniably impact and maybe even affect fashion capitals including London and New York, who are especially keen on men’s fashion week with London Collection’s Men and New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

This isn’t a fear, which resonates with the Italian fashion house Gucci. According to an interview on The Business of Fashion, creative director for Gucci, Alessandro Michele believes that unifying both men’s and women’s fashion shows is a natural aspect of fashion. “It’s the only way I see the world today,” Michele said. Nevertheless, in the same article, Steven Kolb chief executive officer for the CFDA expressed his concern for this recent concept, which many luxury brands are now following suit on. He claimed that it may end up with the collections being ‘season-less’.


“I think we’ll find ourselves not even saying Pre-Fall, Fall, Resort anymore, but going with what some brands are already doing: Collection 1, Collection 2, Collection 3,” Kolb expressed.  This may not necessarily be a bad aspect for luxury brands at all, however, what it may lead to is a rather blurry definition of what exactly is being presented on the catwalks at the various fashion weeks.

The question here is, whether this will impact the fashion industry?  A possible outcome would be that most collections will as a result of this include gender-neutral clothing appealing to a mixed audience.

Will this redefine the mainstream meaning of fashion week? Yes, it will. The way that we view fashion week will not be the same anymore. The crowds will be bigger and the collections twice its usual size. The only concern would be creating a story line to fit the men and women collection.

How the fashion industry will deal with this, only time will tell.  

Written by Melanie Inkoom

Twitter and Instagram: @mellowusu

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