For Him And Her? Dressing beyond gender bias
For Him And Her? Dressing beyond gender bias
Until a few years ago, if a macho-male was seen donning a feminine or floral printed outfit, people would give him those awkward stares. But that attitude has seen a sea-change recently. In fact, it has become quite popular these days.
This gender-less fashion or Androgyny, as it is popularly called has become a trendsetter, closely associated with gender-neutrality and unisex fashion clothing, terms that have been frequently appearing in fashion columns and show reviews recently. Simply put, it is doing away with the stereotype around femininity versus masculinity.
The trend, which saw its visible emergence in 2011, has since officially become mainstream, thanks to the rise of feminism, and issues linked to identity, sexuality and even political policies, largely referring to American legalization of gay marriages.
However, way before the trend became mainstream, fashion influencers of popular music culture of 70s were known for their cross-gender wardrobes, make-up and hair-do. In that area, Elvis Presley figures majorly. His pop-culture led even the traditionalists to riot. Again, David Bowie’s visionary and gender-bending outfits have also influenced several generations. Other musicians, such as Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix have done their bit in dramatically blurring the lines between the two genders by flaunting women’s shirts, scarves and high-heeled boots.
Androgynous — The romanticism in fashion trends
Women are often seen flaunting menswear. The famous Boyfriend Jeans trend — in the outsized, manly jeans and sweaters, riders jackets and the detailed boots — has been something that women have seemingly purloined from their male counterparts since ages. But now, men are also warming up to the idea of looking cool in women’s wear. Designers, working on bending the once rigid boundaries of gender-specific clothes, are extracting the design elements from both masculine and feminine clothing styles and combining them to offer a one-for-all style.
Feminine-Fusions blazing the runways
In 2014, Designer Rad Hourani caused quite a stir over gender-less clothing by sending a fleet of male and female models down the catwalk, wearing gender-neutral clothing and silver masks, at his Spring/Summer couture show. The Fall/Winter’15 couture show, proclaimed the Gucci Era of androgynous fashion, wherein Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michelle was credited for reliving and re-imaging the androgynous trend in fashion, with his distinct feminine-menswear collection, worn by models of both genders.
Gucci wasn’t the only label, who borrowed from girls. British designer JW Anderson has created a line of menswear, with exposed shoulders, knee-length tops. He had his male models walk the ramp, sporting tiaras and cropped tees. At the Paris Fashion Week last year, designers like Raf Simons and Prada also opted for a mix of male and female models for their menswear section. Hedi Slimane under Saint Laurent has produced a line of menswear, meant for both genders, but with the slight difference in their sizes.
Seeping into mainstream culture:
What really brought the trend into mainstream is the endorsement by celebrities in the recent past. Among the early propagators Kanye West pushed the boundaries of androgyny by donning a Givenchy leather kilt in 2012. The gender-ambiguous singer, Conchita Wurst, won the eurosvision song contest for Austria in 2014, while Laverne Cox is the first transgender to be included in the People World’s Most Beautiful Women List in 2015. Bruce Jenner blew the cover on trans issues on a global platform by getting featured as ‘call me- Caitlyn’ on the cover of Vanity Fair. Ketherine Hepburn, one of the most famous Hollywood starlets, has caused quite a commotion in the bliz world with her buttoned-down shirt tucked into high-waisted slacks, worn under a suit jacket. Australian trans-model Andreja Pejic had also sent shock-waves in the high fashion world, when she got featured in Vogue in May 2015. She was the first transgender model to star in the fashion magazine. Symbolically, more men were seen wearing makeup at the BeautyCon, with professionals, experts and makeup-lovers blurring the gender differences even further.
Jaden Smith too did his bit in drastically changing the image of a cool dude by sporting a skirt in Louis Vuitton’s 2016 first ad campaign,suggesting that this trend is surely getting stronger.
In-store A-genderism: the retail future review
Not to be left behind, retailers too have joined the bandwagon, as young parents are also pushing for gender-less clothing, embracing science-themed T-shirts, instead of the princess gown. Retailers like Gap, the North Face and American Apparel have sold unisex clothing for years, though sizing is still typically set as per gender lines. Then there’s Acne, APC, and Assembly New York, who have all made virtually identical styles in slightly different cuts for men and women for year. Selfridges, who recently introduced a concept-store under Agender category, has successfully done away with gender-based shopping in their store on Oxford Street location in London last year. They have also dedicated a-gender displays in the Manchester and Birmingham stores, as well as online.
Freeing the department store of the visual cues that guide customers to where they should shop has eventually created a very neutral space that aims to “transcend the notions of his or hers’, with genderless clothes from more than 40 designers. Unisex products are definitely going to gain greater market share in the coming days, effectively boosting sales of retailers in this section in the long run. In fact, it is now in the interest of the retailers to create a comfort zone for people who don’t want to subscribe to one category.
Courtesy : onthefourthfloor.com