Selfridges Will Go Gender-Free in Latest Retail Experiment

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Selfridges shopping bags

British high-end department store Selfridges is always willing to experiment. The British retailer, known for Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of its founder (and less known for its current owner, Canada’s Galen Weston), went brand-free for a spell two years ago to give its customers a breather and a zen-like shopping experience.

Now the 114-year-old  chain, which last year sought to shake up our notions of beauty and is currently featuring older creators in its third annual “Bright Old Things” collection, is aiming to reinvent the shopping experience—and shoppers’ expectations—yet again, this time by going gender-free.[more]

Its two-month Agender Project in March and April will see three floors of its Oxford Street flagship show off unisex fashion lines from such names as Nicopanda, Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh, and Ann Demeulemeester.

Mannequins will be put into storage so photography, film, and music can be used “to show the collections in a non-gender-specific way,” as Refinery29 notes. The store will also feature mixed-gender beauty products and accessories.

“The project will act as a test bed for experimentation around ideas of gender — both to allow our shoppers to approach the experience without preconceptions and for us as retailers to move the way we shop fashion forward,” said Linda Hewson, Selfridges’ creative director, according to Refinery29.

Female shoppers have increasingly been buying menswear at Selfridges, the Daily Mail reports. The issue may be getting the men to be more adventurous.

“Playing with colourful socks, bow ties and pocket squares can be seen as stepping outside the box of masculinity, so for men to be more outside of that box and wear floral shirts, skirts or heels, that could be seen as jeopardizing their masculinity even more,” Ben Barry, fashion professor at Ryerson University, told the Toronto Star.

The Agender Project will also be found in its Manchester and Birmingham stores as well as online.

Below, check out another innovative retail first now in its stores—Wallpaper* magazine’s debut knitwear collection, created in partnership with Slowear exclusively for Selfridges:

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