One of Finland’s biggest department stores has taken a stance against gender norms and launched a gender-neutral floor.
The store, TBWA in Helsinki, last week announced it has created a gender-neutral shopping floor – located between the men’s and women’s shopping floor of the building.
The department store is famous for its progressiveness, having previously changed its name to ‘Stockwomann’ to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The floor, dubbed ‘One Way,’ will include well-known brands such as Acne Studios, Calvin Klein and Marimekko, all of which have previously included unisex clothes in their collections.
One Way has been named to honour the notion of there being only ‘one way’ in style – your own, according to the store, which says it introduced the floor with the aim of tackling archaic gender norms and to promote diversity and inclusion.
“Department stores, especially, tend to stick with outdated norms when it comes to how they allocate their offering under different departments. At the same time consumers are already buying quite liberally from both departments,” Laura Paikkari, Creative Director at TBWA Helsinki said.
“This is definitely a statement for equality. And brands that take a stand for what they believe in are the ones who shape the future,” she says.
CCO at Stockmann, Anna Salmi said the move was underpinned by a belief that fashion should be open to all, regardless of their gender.
“We believe that men’s and women’s departments should function as guidelines to finding the clothes that best fit your shape and style rather than definite rules to follow,” she said.
“With One Way we wanted to style and curate a selection of clothes that might not be designed unisex but that work perfectly for all people. Our aim is to inspire our customers to forget the rules and shop unbiasedly,” Salmi said.
The news comes as big brand names increasingly are making both gender neutral and transgender clothes – with ASOS and Zara both featuring gender-neutral collections. But high-fashion are also tapping into the trend, with designed Angel Chen, who featured at the Milan Fashion Week, showcasing her gender-neutral collection prompting speculation the rest of Fashion Week 2018 will include a diverse gender-neutral collection.