BREAKING BINARY FASHION:UNGENDERING THE SKIRT

Abstract

This novel study explores the reasons for the limited commercial success of a male marketed skirt in the UK and how design may be used to deconstruct the gender divided clothing market. This research examines whether the male skirt has been rejected by society due to stubborn societal norms or if the introduction of this style has been mismanaged by business. A survey-based methodology was used to acquired statistical data which could be analysed to draw valid conclusions to the hypothesis. The new primary data supported the hypothesis that the collective adoption of the skirt for men has so far been unsuccessful due to the style posing substantial conflict with dominant social attitudes and the limited social visibility and market availability of the style. This study concludes that consumer attitudes are becoming more open to the blurring of gendered fashion and the risk of the style rejection can be managed by retailers responding to consumers motivations and designing the skirt with gender-neutrality in mind.