5 ways fashion brands can be gender-inclusive this PRIDE month—and from now on

by | Jun 26, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

With 1.2 million people in the U.S. identifying as non-binary, it is more important than ever for fashion brands to embrace gender inclusivity. In fact, the future of fashion is genderless, according to a report that 36 percent of consumers purchased clothing outside of their gender identity in 2022.

To celebrate PRIDE month and gender inclusivity, fashion experts at JOOR have teamed up with inclusivity expert Michelle Chung at We The Future of Fashion to give their best tips for brands to embrace gender-neutral fashion.

5 ways fashion brands can be gender-inclusive this PRIDE month

Erhan Inga/Shutterstock.com

Five tips to embrace gender-neutral fashion

5 ways fashion brands can be gender-inclusive this PRIDE month1. Implement the Four Cs

Clothing, community, culture, and customer experience; for brands beginning to embrace gender inclusivity, having gender-neutral clothing is the first step. Brands should try to use neutral language, and incorporate terms like “androgynous”, as segmenting fashion into gender labels puts consumers into traditional gender roles they may not want. 

Brands should implement diversity inwardly by allowing groups of people to be part of the creation process, connecting with customers through social media, for instance, and allowing them to be a part of your brand’s core values.

2. Don’t take the term ‘neutral’ literally

Non-binary clothing is the first step to becoming gender-neutral, but that doesn’t mean styling with neutral colors and bland palettes. Brands should focus on creating expressive unisex fashion, so consider adding bold colors and prints to allow people to express their personalities. 

“Continually challenge the archaic belief systems that we have built around gender,” said Chung, in a news release. “Fashion plays a principal role in self-expression and can be an essential component of gender expression.”

5 ways fashion brands can be gender-inclusive this PRIDE month3. Make shoes and accessories gender inclusive too

With global search volumes for ‘men’s heels’ reaching 9.4K per month*, it is more apparent than ever that consumers want to bend gender norms in fashion. Michelle at @wtfoffashion touches on the cross-over between size inclusivity and gender inclusivity, suggesting that brands should also consider implementing larger sizes into collections, including shoes and accessories, to ensure everyone has a choice that suits them.

4. Show diverse models

Much like plus-size fashion, a vital part of marketing clothes to consumers is to show the clothing being worn; in terms of gender-neutral clothing, you should consider showing the clothing on diverse models, such as non-binary people. However, this only begins to scratch the surface.

5 ways fashion brands can be gender-inclusive this PRIDE month“True inclusivity exists throughout the entire process. Brands must employ diversity throughout every stage,” Chung said. “It is crucial to hire and include people that you are producing for. Different perspectives are necessary throughout the process, from inspiration and ideation to implementation.”

5. Be authentic and receptive to customers

A primary aspect of becoming a more inclusive brand is to ensure you listen to consumer wants and carry inclusivity through your brand’s core. Don’t just think about an outward approach; ensure you are connecting to your customers with longevity. 

“Each brand must strategize and tailor its approach to gender inclusivity to ensure authentic representation in pragmatic practice and consumer perception. There are plenty of instances where brands have tried their best to tap into a new market in the name of inclusivity, only to have it backfire due to a lack of tact,” Chung added.

*statistic from ahrefs keyword explorer (06/12/23)

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter