Gender Blind

Unisex products are trending up in traditionally gender specific categories

When boyfriend jeans became a part of the fashion lexicon—not to mention a wardrobe staple—they ushered in a crossover era in which gender lines are increasingly blurred. While on the runway there’s been no shortage of haute cross-dressing (with models like Hanne Gabby Odile wearing tailored suits and Andrej Pejic donning a dress), independent designers are also keeping things ambiguous by going unisex.

AANDD: While the debate still rages over what to call men’s purses (Man bag? Murse?), New York-based accessories label AANDD has opted out altogether, creating a line of bags that defy gendered description. Since multidisciplinary designer Adam Davidson launched the label in 2010, AANDD has grown to include six styles, ranging from a nautical-influenced duffel bag to a card-size folio. Although the collection is expressly functional—the Tabloid Tote doubles as a laptop case; the Pocket Satchel, a camera bag—it also emphasizes sleek design, with just the occasional subtle embellishment (rope handles, horn toggles). Further proving the line’s lack of gender bias, the model featured on AANDD’s site is as androgynous as the collection itself.

Staghorn Sumac: D.S. & Durga has been concocting unconventional fragrances in Brooklyn since 2009, but its scents have always been designated for men or for women. Joya, another New York-based beauty brand, launched its first perfume line last year with two distinctly feminine mixtures. However, when the two scent-makers joined forces this fall, they created a blend that smells good on everyone. Dubbed a “botanical and historical survey of the Great Plains,” the unisex Staghorn Sumac has notes of bison grass, wild lily, and musk. Not only is it a universally appealing scent but the unique bottle is also representative of its dual-sided approach to beauty: one side is glass, while the other is porcelain.

Uniform Wares: The unisex boom is not unique to New York. Across the Atlantic, London-based Uniform Wares crafts upscale-minimalist watches for everyone. The brainchild of product designers Patrick Beks and Oliver Fowles, Uniform Wares takes its inspiration from the mid-century wall clocks found in British factories. The brand consists of four series, ranging from a slender frame to an oversized chronograph, but overall the collections are straightforward: simple leather band, circular face, clean design. If you’re concerned that your significant other may want to borrow it, take solace in the price tag. With the watches starting at $180, you may each be able to buy your own.