Fashion

Should Fashion Trade the Term ‘Genderless’ for ‘Genderful?’

Fashion

Should Fashion Trade the Term ‘Genderless’ for ‘Genderful?’

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Gypsy Sport AW ’15

“Genderless” has been the hottest buzzword in fashion this past year, getting attached to a range of promising brands like CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winner Gypsy Sport, Moses Gauntlett ChengVejas and Eckhaus Latta. Culturally, we’ve been distancing ourselves from the previous social system that enforced a strict binary, so it’s only natural for fashion to follow suit, and in some cases be a pioneer. A proper label for this sweeping movement is arguably of importance, but is “Genderless” the best fit?

A new report from the trend forecasting company WGSN suggests “Genderful” is the term of the future—something they simply describe as a “positive identity that is unique to each person.” This would be a straightforward switch in terminology, but there’s certainly something powerful about their suggestion; the word, “Less,” alone, is naturally negative, appearing in words like, “Artless,” “Hopeless” and “Affectless.” Genderless inevitably rides in a similar lane, and could therefore be perceived as something undesirable, something passé.

Finished with a shortened iteration of “Full,” Genderful reflects words with more positive connotations like, “Wonderful,” “Beautiful” and “Colorful.” This term doesn’t exclude those who wish to identity outside social norms, instead suggesting they’re full of gender, unlike someone who religiously abides by standards of masculinity and femininity.

Genderful is making the binary your bitch, paving the lane for a more accepting future in fashion; genderless reads more like a reactionary term—something negative, like an outdated response to an equally outdated social structure.