Previously seen as ‘alternative’, gender fluidity has earned its place in popular discussion, particularly in the world that our trend Appearance Matters identifies with. The rise of popular male beauty bloggers and pop culture characters provided a sturdy jumping off point for mainstream brands and media to pick up on the consumers’ desire to be accepted for their differences. Furthermore, the ideals around gender issues that are drip-fed into our lives are evolving – triggered by personal transformation journeys like that of Caitlyn Jenner and the topics of discussion that arose during the USA Presidential campaign, as just some examples.
We know that consumers want to buy into brands that represent them. The demand for products and services to be inclusive and embrace diversity has been heard even louder than before with the power of social media. And for those who are gender non-binary, their needs are gradually becoming more represented in the mainstream. These three innovations are just the starting point:
1. Taylor, Billions
Feature image credit: Showtime
The Showtime series Billions introduces the first gender non-binary character to television: Taylor. Set in what’s often thought of as a testosterone-fuelled environment, a hedge fund company, the character is played by Asia Kate Dillon who neither identifies as masculine or feminine.
2. ASOS Men’s Makeup Tutorials
Makeup for men may not be ‘alternative’ but it hasn’t been referenced in everyday conversation the way that women’s beauty products have, at least not outside of South Korea or Japan. ASOS created a how-to video for a natural makeup look as part of their YouTube series on men’s grooming. The male targeted video facilitates a transition for typically female-gendered practices to become universal but not ‘unisex’, in the name of self-improvement and image optimisation. Foresight Factory’s trend Appearance Matters has noticed a holistic approach to appearance, where diet, mood, sleep and exercise are factors to looking one’s best.
3. Milk x Very Good Light
Cult cosmetic brand Milk partnered with male grooming online magazine Very Good Light on a campaign for their Blur Stick. The message was that one should be their authentic self, whatever the place on the gender spectrum that they identify with. David Yi, the founder of the publication suggests that the makeup product has a lot of millennial appeal, as this is the demographic that is open to new definitions of identity.