Just as in society we are seeing traditional gender roles move in the direction of equality and fluidity, the same trend is now visible in the fashion world. Actually, the concept of clothing that is gender neutral, or unisex, is itself not new, although in recent years it has entered the mainstream. In the last few years Selfridges, Zara, and H&M have all released gender neutral lines or collections. Reporting on London Fashion Week in April this year, CNN observed that “androgynous dressing has become fashionable not only as a statement of fluidity, but because it signifies a conscious effort to be less wasteful.”
Gender-neutral clothing doesn’t mean we need to wear shapeless sacks, but rather items that aren’t specifically cut for any particular body types. It’s possible to be both gender neutral and stylish at the same time.
A new brand emerges
Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s contemporary select shop BEAKER joins this gender-neutral trend by launching its online-only brand, B_. Pronounced “bee underbar,” this label is as playful and modern as its name suggests and seeks to capture the hearts of young consumers who are looking for trendy clothes that don’t fit the cookie-cutter conventionality of old fashions. An underbar, the printer’s symbol for a space between words or characters, was chosen to be part of the brand name as it reflects the wish to capture the feeling of the modern age and express that through clothing.
As a unisex brand, B_ aims to be “Borderless” – accessible to anyone, regardless of gender or other characteristics. To do so, B_ wants to modernize contemporary essential items based on original line products produced by BEAKER.
B_ targets the 25 to 35 age bracket, young consumers who are already familiar with BEAKER and who do a lot of shopping online, and it embodies the modern-day values they want to show such as gender blindness.
B_’s convention-breaking first lookbook
In its first collection, B_ has flouted conventions and played around with traditions in the fashion world.
Traditionally, commercial fashion has commonly distinguished men’s and women’s clothes by their patterns and colors, but not in this gender-neutral collection. The 2020 Fall/Winter B_ collection features toned-down neutral colors and loose-fit, genderless silhouettes.
In a similar playfully nonconformist vein, B_’s first lookbook is one that breaks visual conventions and leaves the viewer thinking. The theme to contemplate here is “relationships.” The two models in the photos are sometimes dressed the same, and, although they are often shown close together, sometimes even leaning on one another, it’s not clear what their relationship is intended to be. It leaves us wondering: are they together, or not really?
BEAKER brand manager Song Tae-geun explains, “We tried to focus on the ambiguity that makes us think again about the nature of a relationship by not showing the usual lovey-dovey relationship or a seemingly romantic one that we commonly see in a lookbook.”
The poses of the models are also out of the ordinary. They resemble frozen moments in an interpretive dance. “We wanted to break away from the traditional fashion custom by having the models adopt poses that are more complicated, unfamiliar, and that make us think again, rather than typical stereotyped stances,” says Song Tae-geun.
For B_, gender neutral is just a start, as the empty space signified by the underbar can hold any value. As Song Tae-geun of BEAKER says, “We want to become a brand that embraces more values and greater diversity.”
B_ products are only available online at the SSF Shop, Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s online shopping mall.