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Designing Our World: Clothing Without The Gender Binary

As a part of "Designing Our World," we're taking a look at clothing that's designed without a specific gender in mind.
As a part of "Designing Our World," we're taking a look at clothing that's designed without a specific gender in mind.

Designer Rad Hourani envisions a world without limits and conditioning created by society.

He says his aesthetics center around neutrality. And in 2007, Hourani debuted the first gender neutral collection in fashion history.

Here’s how The Guardian wrote about that show:

In a bid to create clothes that “exude the essence of timeless style”, his designs are deliberately genderless. Rather than the “men-in-skirts” approach, he concentrates on clothes – T-shirts, jackets, shoes – that seamlessly move between men’s and women’s wardrobes.

His influence is still present today as more and more designers are beginning to experiment with the boundaries of gender and identity.

But some say the industry has to go further still, as summarized by Fashionista.

Still, the industry has been criticized for not doing enough, as unisex collections often masculinize gender-fluid clothing by simply offering baggy, streetwear-type products. Though this look may be desired by some members of the queer community, it is not a stopgap for being more inclusive.

We talk with Hourani and the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman about what’s changed since that first collection in 2007 and about how the fashion world is moving beyond simply clothing for him and for her.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.


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