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Brief Published: 18 Nov 2014

Underwear: Rise In Unisex

Acne's Unisex underwear line

Cult Swedish fashion brand Acne has launched a range of gender-neutral underwear, exemplifying the trend for unisex apparel, and channelling an androgynous aesthetic in intimates pioneered by Calvin Klein in the 90s.

The line includes boxers, briefs, shorts, and high-waisted styles. The collection features a neutral, skin-tone colour palette with the Acne logo emblazoned along the waistband – mirroring Klein’s exploration of underwear with unisex appeal. Indeed, the 90s aesthetic is a key driver for the line, as it is for our Perfect Ordinary Design Direction.

Shot by indie photographer Ryan McGinley, the range appeals to the millennial and contemporary market; especially young urban couples who share wardrobe staples. “It’s underwear for real kids and not models,” the label’s creative director, Jonny Johansson, said in an interview with UK paper the Financial Times.

According to British retailer Marks & Spencer, 50% of its men’s underwear is currently being purchased by women – causing it to take female consumers into consideration in a male product market. “It does suggest that men’s underwear is a common consideration for women, irrespective of whether or not they are wearing it themselves,” said the brand in a statement.

US brand American Apparel already has its own range of unisex underwear featuring masculine Y-front designs, while brands such as Play Out are launching to cater to both male and female consumers looking for masculine designs with contemporary graphics.

This emerging trend bolsters our recent report Fashion & Beauty: Liberating Gender, in which we explore the ways the fashion and beauty industries are reacting to boundary-breaking gender politics – such as the appointment of Brazilian transgender model and activist Lea T as the new face of Redken.