The long-enduring appeal of athleisure – a portmanteau of the words athletic and leisure, otherwise known as activewear – proves that consumers are willing to pay top dollar to look and feel good – all the time, anywhere.
Homegrown activewear brand Finix Wear is taking that ethos a step further by removing the conventional boundaries attached to clothing – specifically, gender labels.
After all, “clothes inherently have no gender,” says founder and designer Leonard Chong.
A former dancer and avid yogi, Leonard started Finix Wear in 2020 as a response to his “frustration of not being able to find the comfortable athflow (athletic and flow, which is Finix’s take on athleisure) styles I wanted in the mainstream fashion market – particularly in menswear”.
“As a full-time professional with an active and social life before the pandemic, finding clothes that could transition through different occasions without looking like I had just left the gym or office was challenging. Additionally, living in a warm tropical climate like Singapore, having a flexible wardrobe built with appropriate fabrics was crucial.”
“These challenges inspired me to start my brand Finix, where I could design and create stylish, chic, and versatile everyday pieces that are suitable for urban living in warm climates,” he continues.
The brand’s identity as a gender-inclusive label developed organically over time. “As I developed my design aesthetic, I drew inspiration from both typically feminine styles and silhouettes and menswear, introducing new styles that transcended gender boundaries. This realisation that clothes inherently have no gender led me to establish my brand as a genderless label, which gave me the freedom to design how I wanted, and also empowered my customers to decide what clothes meant to them on a personal level.”
“Furthermore, designing without gender labels not only allowed me to tap authentically into my identity as a gender queer designer, but also gave me the opportunity to challenge societal norms and create clothing that is inclusive and can be worn by anyone.”
Championing inclusive fashion
This commitment to inclusivity is reflected too in their choice of models. Finix features diverse personalities of all shapes, sizes or sexual orientation, the idea being that the fashion label must walk the talk to break down stereotypes that plague its industry from within.
Finix’s latest collection, Genesis, is a celebration of the brand’s three-year journey and the in-roads it has created for genderless clothing in Singapore. It features versatile pieces hewn from bamboo lyocell, a fabric that’s as breathable and soft as it is sustainable, that are designed to anchor your wardrobe and “provide our customers with the building blocks to create their own unique style, empowering them to confidently express themselves through their individual fashion choices”.
Genderless fashionwear is still a nascent market, but Leonard believes that it will only grow from here. “As we move forward, I believe the fashion industry will become more inclusive and diverse, with a greater focus on genderless fashion. The rising popularity and acceptance of gender-neutral clothing in mainstream culture is indicative of a shift in societal norms towards breaking down gender stereotypes.”
“I envision a future where fashion is no longer restricted by gender labels and individuals are free to express themselves through their clothing choices, regardless of their gender identity,” he concludes.