Companies throughout the fashion industry showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community in the form of rainbow-filled collections and donations during Pride month. “Buy Now, Pay Later” service Afterpay, however, is launching its own initiative that goes beyond the month of June.
The company, which built a foundation on making products more financially accessible, launched its first Genderfree shop last week. The curated shopping experience breaks from the typical product grid format, weaving in educational and influencer content and showcasing apparel and lifestyle brands on models of all genders.
Levi’s curated The Genderfree shop with the latest summer styles along with additional participating brands including Birkenstock, Jeffrey Campbell, Smith + Cut, Milk Makeup and others.
The heritage denim brand has a history of acting on its progressive values—racially integrating its factories in the 1940s, long before the legal mandate, and becoming the first Fortune 500 company to offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. The platform features select products from the brand, including relaxed fit jeans from its Big & Tall range and a unisex slub knit bucket hat, but its inclusive offerings run much deeper.
In June, Levi’s launched “All Pronouns. All Love,” a unisex Pride collection celebrating LGBTQ+ individuals that underscored the importance of learning and respecting proper pronoun use. For the third consecutive year, all net proceeds from Levi’s Pride collection were directed to OutRight Action International, an organization that works to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people all over the world.
As part of its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, Afterpay partnered with Reimagine Gender, a non-profit organization that provides training and tools to help communities better understand gender. The organization will guide the Genderfree shop and help to elevate LGBTQ+ brands on the platform.
Afterpay will also will develop diverse and inclusive programming in partnership with gender non-conforming writer Alok Vaid-Menon, who will serve as brand collaborator.
“Inclusivity is at the core of Afterpay’s DNA, which makes our ongoing programming of self-expression a natural step for us,” said Zahir Khoja, general manager for Afterpay North America. “With the launch of the Genderfree shop and other inclusive tools, we are giving our customers a more diverse shopping experience and encouraging everyone to think differently about social norms.”
The shop speaks directly to younger generations, which compose a large part of the company’s target demographic. Afterpay noted that millennials and Gen Z together make up 65 percent of its global customer base. Using these alternative payment methods, consumers can elect to pay in full up front or make incremental payments over a designated period of time—a type of flexibility deeply valued by younger shoppers.
Now more than ever, brands are becoming more conscious of the gender spectrum. According to a new report from retail market intelligence platform Edited, genderless products at mainstream retailers has increased by 56 percent year over year. Of these products, tops—specifically T-shirts—are the most invested style in the U.S. and U.K., followed by hoodies in the U.S. and sweatshirts in the U.K. Genderless sweatpants are also popular in both regions.