In the fashion world, gender is sooo last year

The fashion business could be going gender Phluid after a store in New York called The Phluid Project recently launched in NYC.


December 10, 2019

Menswear? Womenswear? Who cares? 

Gender fluidity is by no means a new concept on runways and in the fashion industry, but retail is starting to catch up as fashion breaks the binary through non-gendered stores and collections.

Unsex me here

The Manhattan-based Phluid Project is a storefront/cafe/event venue geared toward the LGBTQIA+ community. Founder Rob Smith, a retail exec with 3 decades of experience at brands like Nike, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret, set up shop just a few years ago. 

At Phluid, mannequins lack the bionic breasts and bulges typical of fashion dummies. They sport pants, skirts, and sweatshirts emblazoned with “They Power,” a nod to nonbinary pronoun preference.

Over the summer, Phluid worked with the HBO series “Euphoria” to set up pop-ups across the country. At each of the pop-up locations, shoppers could check out a capsule collection and sit in on panel discussions. Phluid also launched a gender-fluid collection with the French label Equipment. 

It’s a Z thing… and it’s getting bigger

According to Pew Research Center, 35% of Gen Z knows someone who identifies as nonbinary. And, as Smith points out, you can’t discount this demographic.

“By next year, Gen Z (will account) for ⅓ of the national population, which accounts for 40% of US spending power,” Smith told Fortune.

And it seems a niche concept is going mainstream.

The fast-fashion giant H&M has worked gender fluidity into its strategy through efforts like its unisex Denim United collection and its collab with the non-gendered Swedish brand Eytys. And last summer beauty retailer Sephora launched a campaign painting a broader picture of inclusion.

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