Selfridges’ Agender – too much concept, not enough access

Selfridges’ much-anticipated, gender-neutral space Agender was unveiled in its London flagship last week but a quick visit over the weekend left us somewhat non-plussed.

For a retail story that’s all about breaking open a new category and breaking down barriers the reality in store doesn’t fit the bill.

The space is much more firmly at the concept end of the spectrum than the shoppable and even mildly accessible end. Bagged merchandise on the rails may have a visual impact but it makes the whole collection impenetrable, which is a shame, because when looking in the Oxford Street windows afterwards, there were plenty of items which caught mine (and my male companion’s) interest. But by that stage, we didn’t want to go back in.

Overall, the space feels far too intimidating to browse for any shoppers nervous about exploring gender-neutrality and for a department store its feels very far from ‘discovery’.


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