Talking research

Gender-Fluid Clothing Popularity Driven by Gen Z and Gen Alpha

  • By Alex Frankel Schorr
  • September 15, 2022
  • 4 min

Back-to-school generations are more likely to explore clothing and make-up outside of the gender assigned at birth, according to new research by Getwizer.

By Alex Frankel Schorr

With millions of children throughout the US returning to school over the past few weeks, the debate regarding gender identity and inclusivity has never been hotter. But while many states throughout America take dramatically different stances regarding gender identity in the classroom, many iconic brands have been putting politics and gender pronouns to the side in order to cater to the needs of all children as they enter the new school year. 

Brands Meeting Demand for Diversity 

Gap is one clothing brand that has been making significant progress over the past number of years to produce more diverse and inclusive clothing lines, after being inspired by a letter from a 5-year-old about why they should develop gender-neutral clothing. “You are right,” was the straightforward response to the letter, received in 2017, from Gap CEO Jeff Kirwan. Kirwan vowed Gap would “do a better job offering even more choices that appeal to everyone,” 

The fashion brand has certainly kept its promise. Its latest GapKids back-to-school “Everyone Belongs” campaign celebrates the aspects that make us all different from one another and highlights the value of clothing in which people feel most themselves. But it is not just established brands, such as the Gap, Nike and PacSun, that are focusing on gender neutral ranges. A host of new trendy and cool brands are looking to cater for kids with clothing that better matches how they see themselves

Inclusivity Now a Key Metric for Brands

Gender inclusivity is something all brands should be embracing, according to Getwizer’s research. This is especially so for those focused on younger generations, and in particular fashion brands targeting Gen Z and Gen Alpha

When parents were asked if their “children ever explore clothing or make-up outside of their gender assigned at birth?” 35% said yes with slightly over 61% saying no. This shows that a significant portion of children are still exploring gender fluid options in their clothing and make-up choices. 

A significant amount of children are exploring gender fluid options in their clothing and make-up choices.

Newer Generations Pushing the Boundaries 

In previous generations, things were far more straightforward, and children were, in the main, dressed according to the gender assigned to them at birth. This can be seen in the research when age groups were asked, “Growing up, did you ever explore clothing or make-up outside of your gender assigned at birth?”. When studying the answers given to this question an obvious pattern quickly emerges. Of those aged 65+ only 5.1% said yes, while a slightly larger 8.8% of respondents aged between 55-64 also replied yes. In the 45-54 age category a significantly larger 13.8% answered yes. But when we reach the last three age groupings the difference is stark. 

A total of 27.2% in the 35-34 group, 33.1% in the 25-34 group and 35% of the under 25 group all said yes, when asked if they explored clothing or make-up outside of their gender assigned at birth. This trend means as Gen Z and Gen Alpha mature we will see a similar pattern and a larger number exploring different types of non-traditional clothing and make-up.

gender exploration, research, getwizer
The younger the age group the more likely they have explored gender fluid options.

Getwizer’s research reinforces the fact that inclusivity matters deeply to Gen Z and Gen Alpha. So for brands and retailers looking to target these highly desirable consumers the message should be clear — the future is non-binary and teens are leading the way.

Read more about Gen Z and how it is paving the way to the Metaverse, and what this means for brands, here

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