Michelle Behr, Staff Writer
Zara, in many people’s opinions, is a high-end version of Forever 21. They are known for their timeless clothing and great basic pieces like jeans, blazers, and t-shirts.
Zara recently launched a unisex clothing line in the beginning of March called “Ungendered.” This line consists of 16 products ranging from jeans to tank tops, all for under $50. The people modeling for this line on Zara’s website have a very androgynous look.
Clothing being sold for this line becomes confusing because all the items were already considered unisex pieces. The majority of the pieces are very similar to sweatpants that are sold at Target or Walmart, like Hanes. With the exception of a pair of jeans, all of the products are either t-shirts, sweats, or tops.
This clothing line claims to rewrite the gender binary attitude towards clothing in attempts to make it non-gender conforming. It is wonderful that higher-end companies are starting not to give clothes a specific gender, but Zara didn’t do an impressive job.
The clothing line is essentially slightly overpriced men’s loungewear called “Ungendered” instead of unisex. If Zara really wants to turn heads, they need to add more daring pieces to the line, meaning they would have to add pieces that have been strictly considered male or female to the general public and redefine them as genderless.
If a company wants to make a gender neutral line, they need to be unafraid of stepping out of society’s comfort zone, which Zara is having a hard time accomplishing. For example, there should be items like sweatshirts with printed flowers on them, colorful sweatpants, “masculine” blazers, “feminine” sunglasses, skirts, etc. There needs to be a variety that includes more than 16 articles of clothing to choose from. As far as the people modeling the clothes, some people would prefer “masculine” men proudly wearing skirts and powerful women pulling off “masculine” blazers; not only androgynous models sporting plain loungewear.
Zara was not intentionally trying to upset people with their new line of clothing. The idea that inspired it was admirable, but the outcome was less than stellar. When looking at the clothes, models, and how it is all presented on Zara’s website, people who believe that clothes do not have a gender may get very offended. They are essentially hinting that only very plain sweats and loungewear can be considered gender neutral, and you have to be skinny, tall, and Caucasian to wear it. While looking at the ungendered clothing you have the option on the left side of the page to see the clothes that are categorized as “woman” and “man,” which most people will end up doing because the ungendered clothes are pretty boring.
In an article released by Huffington Post UK, the general public expressed feelings of disgust towards this line. Some asked, “Was Zara trying to do something groundbreaking with their ‘ungendered’ clothing? It’s literally just plain t-shirts and sweatpants.” Others said, “So ungendered clothing means ugly sweatshirts for skinny white people?” In a similar article by Buzzfeed, others had different responses such as, “Zara has started doing ‘ungendered’ clothes. I have never been so proud.” However, the majority of responses have been negative.
It is refreshing that companies are at least toying with the notion of no longer giving clothes a gender. Many are starting to actually do something groundbreaking with the idea.