For decades, mainstream brands have been segregating fragrance by gender, influencing the idea that sweet, floral scents should be worn exclusively by women, while heavy, musky notes are more suitable for men. Perfumers and fragrance specialists such as ourselves at Czech & Speake provide ranges of fragrance that focus on crafting a complex scent with a unique personality, as apposed to creation with gender in mind. With a shift towards equality and non-binary, this gender concept is becoming outdated, and we’re thrilled that new mindsets are able to interpret scent more openly, and fragrance is allowed to speak for itself once more.
A Cultural Shift
“Traditionally, perfume was not gender specific. The separation of fragrance for men and women was a marketing ploy crafted in America in the 1960’s to encourage more men to buy into the idea of wearing fragrance, as societal attitudes at the time considered the wearing of perfume to be a feminine trait. In reality the notes in perfume should come down to personal taste, with no legitimate reason for this to be defined by gender.” – Frank Sawkins, Creative Director of Czech & Speake.
As Frank describes, gendered marketing has been used as an easy-sell tactic by those in the commercial perfume industry for years, to take advantage of the social construct of gender division. If you cast your mind to popular fragrance advertisements, the visual culture relies heavily on gender stereotyping, with glamorous women in billowing dresses or alpha males in tailored suits. In relativity recent years, this social construct has been widely challenged, no longer working so effectively as a marketing technique. The concept of gender fluidity is driving change and encouraging consumers to seek a more honest product.
What is Gender Fluid Fragrance ?
Gender fluidity in fragrance refers to the idea that a single perfume formula can contain both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ elements, branded in a neutral, non-bias way so that the wearer can choose how they interpret the scent. This prevents consumers from feeling confined to purchasing a scent that represents one gender, and provides freedom to flow between the two.
Czech & Speake’s Top Gender Fluid Scents:
Dark Rose EdP 100ml
Our luxurious, nocturnal rose fragrance is a floral scent with a strong, woody base. The precious, distinctive ingredient of Rose of Taif is a rich and intense rose oil, with an edge of soft powderiness associated with feminine floral perfume. The addition of Cambodian Agar Wood (Oud), musk and cedarwood gives the fragrance a bold, confident base that prolongs the life of the scent. Although ‘feminine’ rose is the dominant note in this fragrance, this scent appeals as equally to men as it does women through a complex balance of both delicate and heavy notes. Significantly, the inspiration behind this scent comes from Arabic and Indian perfumery; in these cultures, rose was traditionally considered to be a masculine scent. This highlights the blurred lines between perfume and gender in history.
No.88 Cologne Spray 100ml
Our iconic No.88 has a passionate following amongst both women and men. This is likely because the combination of fragrance notes and the way in which they work together is so complex that the scent outcome is totally unique and mysterious. No.88 was designed with the intention to create an exotic, sensuous scent with true perfumery methods as apposed to appeal to one gender over another. Although it may not be apparent, fine floral notes such as rose otto, geranium and frangipani make up the core of the scent, but they become velvety and rich in pairing with a base of masculine vetiver and warm sandalwood.
Vétiver Vert Cologne Spray 100ml
Our Vétiver Vert cologne was designed as a modern interpretation of a classic masculine fragrance, such as Guerlain’s iconic ‘Vetiver Guerlain for Men’. However Czech & Speake’s Vétiver Vert is certainly not restricted to men. The traditionally spicy scent has been refreshed with a citrus, mandarin top note, which provides a feeling of freshness that can be appreciated universally with no gender connotations attached. The fragrance contains green and balsamic middle notes and a woody base, producing a scent that is intense and musky, but sweetened by alluring sandalwood. This combination of notes gives the scent sophisticated sensuality, accessible to all.
Sources: Cover photo PixieMe / Shutterstock
If you were inspired to try our most gender fluid scents, click the links in the article to shop. Alternatively explore our full fragrance range, to find a scent that best suits your tastes.