Genderless Kei – the street style that’s freeing up fashion

genderless kei pey

Fashion icons like Pey, Toman and Penking are taking Japanese street style in an androgynous direction with Genderless Kei – the style where your gender does not determine the clothes you wear.

Genderless Kei: A Fashion Trend That You Need To Know

Japan is top of the game when it comes to fashion trends, and in the last year or so (since 2016) the ‘Genderless Kei’ style has been solidly on the rise.

Genderless Kei is a style that places itself beyond any gender binary and challenges stereotypes about what it traditionally means to dress as a boy. It’s been put forward that part of its popularity is due to social media and the use of software like Instagram and Snapchat.

Presenting an androgynous look for men who integrate traditionally ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ fashion, Genderless Kei has proved popular with cis-men, but the inclusive style is being pioneered by fashion lovers in a spectrum of genders.

genderless kei pay

Image: Pey (@Peey via Instagram)

genderless kei genking

Image: Genking (@_genking_ via Instagram)

Some of its key known faces include genderless TV star Genking and genderfree fashion icon Pey. They’ve embraced the look as a means to explore the wonders of life and fashion without having to visually present as any specific gender.

genderless kei toman

Image: Toman (@_sweatm via Instagram)

J-pop band XOX member and Genderless Kei poster-child Toman told Model Press Japan:

“I think that there are a whole lot more boys like me now, especially in Harajuku. [Genderless Kei] has become so widespread now that before long it’s going to be considered something totally normal – or that’s how I want to make it.”

What are the elements of Genderless Kei style?

Genderless Kei followers usually combine stereotypically ‘female’ and ‘male’ clothing and beauty techniques to create an androgynous look.

genderless kei satoyupi

Image: Satoyupi (@fuwafuwabubbub via Instagram)

genderless kei ryucheru

Image: Ryucheru (@ryuzi33world929 via Instagram)

Influenced in part by the anime and manga representation of handsome young men, Genderless Kei includes (but is not limited to) the following key elements:

  • Clear skin
  • Makeup and nail polish
  • Coloured contacts
  • Flashy clothing
  • Cute accessories
  • Dyed hair in an androgynous or ‘feminine’ cut

Genderless Kei rejects any gender rules about fashion, and promotes beauty standards that aren’t defined by gender.

More About Genderless Kei

Korean Ulzzang seems to play a large part in the roots of Genderless Kei. Ulzzang means ‘best face,’ and the aim is to attain an almost heavenly level of beauty, regardless of your gender. The overall look of Genderless Kei varies, with some taking it in a more ‘masculine’ direction, and some in a more ‘feminine’ direction… but it’s a breath of fresh air for all, with fashion freedom at its core.

Genderless Kei – More Just Than a Fashion Trend

‘Kei’, which means style in Japanese, focuses on self-expression through fashion. The critical point about this new trend is that Genderless Kei isn’t related to gender or orientation. Genderless Kei fans may be het, gay, cis, non-binary… they simply find freedom in the Genderless aesthetic.

Genderless Kei doesn’t conform to any traditions which people are following, and welcomes androgynous fashion as an aesthetic for all.