Cover Anaïs Mak and Ingrid Chen-Mandonnaud go head-to-head in this month’s great debate

Asia's Most Influential honouree Anaïs Mak, the designer behind fashion label Anaïs Jourden, and luxury retail executive Ingrid Chen-Mandonnaud go head-to-head in this month’s great debate

Should All Fashion Brands Adopt A Genderless Layout Within Their Shops?

ANAÏS MAK: NO

A genderless layout doesn’t apply to every brand. I love seeing the concept of genderless fashion thrive in the fashion industry, but I believe it’s about having a choice. Fashion is about being able to become whoever you want, and ideally, a store should be designed to facilitate this type of thinking. I appreciate designs that are built according to classic gender aesthetics. Some days I enjoy wearing baggy jeans and a hoodie, and other days I love being ultrafeminine in heels, a silk dress and eyeliner with a fresh manicure. It’s ultimately our own choice to feel more empowered—whether that’s in a T-shirt, a stiletto or a pantsuit. Regardless of how we’re raised, I believe we’re born to be liberated in different ways. Today, adopting less dated stereotypes shouldn’t mean destroying social contexts completely.

INGRID CHEN-MANDONNAUD: YES

For multi-brand retailers and brands that have existing menswear and womenswear collections, the idea of a genderless layout gives [designers] the opportunity not only to change their retail layout but also to design by fit. Stella McCartney and Gucci, and mass-market brands like Adidas are experimenting with this [genderless] format not only in physical retail layout but in their design process too, and they have seen success among the increasingly important Gen-Z demographic. Styling mixed looks is also more prevalent in e-commerce for both mono- and multi-brand platforms, ultimately opening up cross-selling opportunities across genders. Clothing silhouettes have a more relaxed fit [today]. This phenomenon lends itself easily to removing the inhibitions of male versus female dressing. For players that are more fluid in their design process and craft, it is an exciting space with which to explore and experiment.

  • PhotographyAnna Koustas (Chen-Mandonnaud)
  • PhotographyJohn Gregory (Mak)
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.