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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Denim and ‘ungendered’ clothing trend in spring fashion

By Thu Nguyen     3/23/16 4:18pm

New York, Milan, London and now Paris have had their fashion weeks, and the collections have made the statements: The nostalgic fashion of the 90s, which has been creeping back in the form of Puma creepers, jelly sandals and mom jeans, is officially back, not just for mainstream streetwear but also high fashion. Tracksuits, bright colors, “rigid fit” jeans, slip-on shoes and sneakers (yes, those “Damn Daniels,” too) are the “it” items of the season. Who knew that awfully bright yellow, nylon rain jacket hand-me-down from Ralph Lauren would actually become trendy? I’ve finally added my mother’s jeans and my father’s torn up, oversized denim jacket to my rotation rack, and I don’t look like a fool in this humidity because, well, it’s fashionable. 

Speaking of denim, it in itself is making a huge comeback as a trend — and not just the mom or flare jean. The polyester blend that makes a skinny jean skinny is being set aside in favor of the cotton threads that gave the original Levi’s their signature durability. The resulting  rigid fit, a term taken from Vogue UK, provides a structure that allows one to easily dress a pair of jeans (straight, mom or flare) up or down. For those of us who have had trouble finding jeans that flatter our butts, rigid fit is here to save us. Specifically, Levi’s has just released a new line of jeans called the “Wedgie” jean. True to its name, the Wedgie accentuates and keeps in place all the right parts of your derriere, making it the newest best jean on the market specifically for this purpose. Whether or not this is the jean for you will be dependent on your personal preference. Besides Levi’s new release, both fast fashion and luxury brands have been releasing jeans with cropped flare bottoms, raw and/or undone hems, contrasting stitching and, true to 90s fashion, acid washes.

On top of that, Zara unceremoniously released a new line of clothing named Ungendered this month. The capsule collection consisted of a unisex white T-shirt, unisex pair of light washed jeans, unisex hoodie and unisex long sleeved pajama style shirt. At first, everyone was celebrating a moment of progress in the fashion industry — an attempt to recognize the non-gender-binary community. However, critics were quick to point out how each of the product names had the word “unisex” in it, therefore implying a binary society for which this clothing was made for instead of the ungendered community. It’s a difficult subject because you can easily understand where both Zara and critics are coming from. Zara’s approach is to consider unisex a term that describes both males and females — two terms used when biologically speaking about humans — and consider ungendered an umbrella term for “man,” “woman,” “nonbinary,” etc. — all terms used when referring to gendered/nongendered people. On the other hand, the connotation of unisex (both male and female) is often interchanged with the connotation of being both “man and woman,” which are two terms related to gender, not biology. Thus, using the term unisex could easily be misunderstood as viewing this society as a binary one, rather than recognizing that it is now a nonbinary one. 

As controversial as this collection is, though, it will also be the first collection to be displayed in stores in a section neither specifically for men nor women; that in itself is a huge step forward, after Target’s decision to take down signs labeling its clothing sections for men and women. 

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