Agender at Selfridges, London
Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB
Faye Toogood, London
Selfridges has creativity built into the very fabric of its brand. From the very beginning under Gordon Selfridge, Britain’s most exciting department store has understood that retail is about more than just selling product.
It’s about tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and experimenting with new ideas.
In particular, Selfridges is challenging the existing traditions of shopping by axing traditional mens and women’s fashion departments in favour of unisex collections.
“Def: Without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender; neutrois); moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender.
Welcome to Agender, a celebration of fashion without definition. Join us as we explore and examine shifting gender boundaries through ground-breaking fashion, music and design collaborations” (Selfridges)
Agender is a pop up installation and social media campaign which wraps the atrium on the first, second and third floors at Oxford Street. It runs through March and April 2015.
Designed by Faye Toogood, Agender is a curated collection of gender neutral fashion, beauty and accessories from world famous and up and coming designers.
The idea is that customers can shop the collection ‘free to transcend the notions of ‘his’ and ‘her’. Instead they select based on colour, fit and style.
The collection features 40 pieces from labels such as VFiles, Hood by Air, Haider Ackermann, Alexander Plokhov, Ann Demeulemeester, Casley Hayford and Meahham Kirchhoff.
There are also five gender-fluid collections which were launched in store specifically for the campaign from Toogood’s Collection 002, Rad Hourani, Nicopanda, Underground and Bodymap.
“We are increasingly aware that gender is not a simple binary, yet clothing is still marketed along those lines. You only have to look at the preponderance of the ‘pink is for girls’ mentality in children’s departments to see how the choices we make when buying clothing can reinforce artificial gender roles.” says Toogood.
She continues, “The spaces are based on the idea of stripping away the artifice of commerce and marketing: they are designed in the shape of houses, to suggest a domestic space as opposed to the impersonality of a retail space, and rendered in steel mesh to add transparency.
All of the garments are presented in pared-down, uniform packaging to free them from the preconceptions that would ordinarily colour such purchases.”
The windows accompanying the campaign also have an abstract art theme and deliberately eschew mannequins to reinforce the gender neutrality of the concept.
This is what retail is all about; great ideas, executed with style and passion.
We love it.