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Emilie Riis

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Cracking the Gender Code - Let's Start with Trainers

Posted: 04/09/2013 18:50

Do you remember Kanye West at Coachella in 2011? He rocked the stage in a Celine women's spring collection silk blouse. He looked dead dapper!
Or what about Tilda Swinton at every official event she's ever attended. Dressed power woman chic in suits, ties and masculine silhouettes.

As we move further into the 21st century, unisex fashion has cemented itself as a trend that's here to stay. Unisex clothing continues to gain market share, however certain big retail brands are still reluctant to move into the gender bender industry. I say, blue men from Mars and pink women from Venus can all live together on planet earth in slightly darker colourways.

In the last decade a more androgynous aesthetic has infiltrated the world of the fashion forward. Five years ago Prada sent their male models down the catwalk in skirts and Gucci sported the "guyliner". Now, many high-end designers have started to create unisex lines; paving the way for a fresh approach to fashion and style built upon a cornerstone of expression, over gender.

I can't help but ask, why are colours still synonymous with gender? And why are some big fashion retailers so reluctant to move away from this traditional view on male and female style? I'm fed up with this colour discrimination that dictates my wardrobe. My recent research into the female sneaker category has shown I'm not alone in the quest for darker colourways in women's sizes.

It's time to move away from the boundaries set by masculinising and feminising products. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not trying to outlaw pink for girls or blue for boys. But as a woman closing in on 30 I'd just like the choice for a sneaker with a little less princess and a little more power.

It's not only when buying sneakers I tend to be drawn to the men's selection. I'll take James Bond's Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean any day over the bond girl's tiny diamond encrusted watch. Please! And in this I'm not alone either.

So, let's stop beating around the bush. Unisex fashion is in demand. Sports retail brands are usually ahead of the game inventing fuel bands, training apps and ID tools before we even knew we needed them. So why are they being so slow on the uptake with unisex fashion? I've time and time again found myself staring lovingly at a great pair of men's trainers and wondered why don't they make this one in women's sizes. As a consumer nothing is more frustrating than falling in love with an item that doesn't come in your size, and the sneaker category is all too guilty of committing this crime.

I've made it my goal to encourage the sneaker category to become more inclusive to the wants of their female consumers. So far the support from both men and women across the globe has been amazing.

Nike just celebrated its 25th anniversary of their iconic tagline 'Just Do It'. According to Nike's global Chief Marketing Officer Davide Grasso, the tagline has gone from being an advertising slogan to becoming the mantra of the company. If this is true, I urge the company to practice what they preach, embody this mantra and correct this colourways oversight #pleasejustdoit.

 

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