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NicopandaCourtesy of Selfridges

Selfridges will launch a gender-neutral pop-up department

A sign of things to come?

There's change in the air, and Selfridges is one of the first to sense it. The London luxury retailer is sweeping aside cultural norms and launching a gender-neutral pop-up department that will include spaces on three of its four floors. It's called Agender. The unisex experience won't be limited to London, either. Selfridges outlets in Manchester and Birmingham will also feature gender neutral spaces. 

"We want to take our customers on a journey where they can shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes," the store said in a statement. "A space where clothing is no longer imbued with directive gender values, enabling fashion to exist as a purer expression of 'self'."

With girls appearing on the menswear runways (see: Gucci) and Acne trumpeting its pro-woman credentials with scarves reading "Gender Equality", there's probably never been a better time for a department store like Selfridges to try something new. Right now, it feels like there's nothing more old-fashioned than the idea of a shopping aisles for women and another for men.

So how committed is Selfridges to its theme? Very. For one thing, the store is doing away with female and male mannequins – which still leaves the tricky question of how the garments will be displayed on the shopfloor. (Designer Faye Toogood is tasked with designing the concept.) The shake-up also applies to beauty and accessories, with perfumes displayed alongside shaving products. 

Selfridges has also lined up exclusive launches with Body Map, Nicopanda, Rad Hourani, and VFiles. Agender will launch on March 1 and run through to April. Hopefully this won't just be a brief, fashionable nod towards gender neutrality – more of a harbinger of things to come.