The struggle to break the typical stereotypes that define and cage the two genders separately when it comes to Fashion has been on for some time now, but the real wonder is if it had always been present, is here to stay, or just a borrowed generational trend.
Renowned fashion brands began to adopt this strategy and started exploring outside the binary box due to the modern-day movements like gender neutrality and gender fluidity that gained an impressive from 2017 till present day, and with the much-necessitated gender equality movement, the clothing pattern and fashion mentality began to adapt to modern times. The world had accepted and continued to allow the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, but more than before, and Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro acceptance.
The recent transition in attitudes of people away from constricted thinking has been observed and is now being implemented to the plethora of forms and identities on the spectrum of gender; the odd thought pattern defining pink for women and blue for men or trousers for men and skirts for women were all conquered in era-defining ways in the 1900s and could be interpreted as a movement towards genderless Fashion, but the bigger wall may have been shattered.
So, is genderless Fashion a new thing? Has it always been? Affirmative on both arguments. Here’s why:
Humans have been judgmental in the past when it came to defining gender, but this thinking changed due to gender variance and started being more noticeable when individuals started desegregating themselves from pure male or female gender norms and begun to come out without permission from social cultures and standards. In the era when gender questions became to rise, and when the identity broke free from the binary constrictions, people who considered themselves agender and or transgender used to have a hard time deciding what to wear because of the social clauses inhibiting their fashion choices. The solution came about with gender-neutral clothes allowing individuals to take pride in their representation and their fashion choices. Decisions that we all might consider difficult, especially in an era when the moral and social constructs of the majority revolted against such actions. However, you still had people challenging these views and caring less about the consequences.
Fashion Industry Adaptation
With the sublimity in the thought pattern of the recent generation, the big and renowned fashion brands started to remove the tags from clothes like “for men” or “for women” only. And lo and behold, they introduced a new way defined as “for all” clothes. Men can wear pink dresses, or even skirts and women can opt for any clothes that they love to wear. The fashion shows showcasing their latest designs stopped the limiting one gender ramp walk. Now women appear in men clothing walking confidently and as gracefully as a swan. Men walk in pink and skirts without raising eyebrows. If this had been the case a few years back, the idea of mixing both gender clothes on the runway could have been viewed as insane and bold but not anymore. It is now the norm. Pop culture known to historically perpetuate androgyny has been a reflector of the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, and now, Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro and micro acceptance.
A slew of designers challenged this notion before now, offering a secluded place in the fashion industry for individuals who had finally found themselves and were the real pioneers of the questioning of gender; from those that didn’t see themselves on either end of the gender binary or those who already subverted and ignored traditional gender norms. Designers such as Rick Owens pioneered a genderless view of Fashion from the early start of his notability. In an interview with Refinery29, Rick emphasis on the misconception that gender expansion started with the millennials. “I don’t understand why this generation thinks they invented gender fluidity. They did it harder, stronger, and louder in the ’70s and 16th-century Japan.” Other designers like Yohji Yamamoto also held gender fluidity as an attachment to their creative process, and continue to do so till this day.
It can be argued that the first pioneers or “exhibitors” off gender fluidity and the genderless fashion movement were celebrities- specifically rock and roll, punk, pop and a few of others subverted genders. In more recent times, due to social media, virality and all its derivatives, celebrities, and public figures started supporting the movement by wearing genderless clothes on important international events. One of such new-generation pioneers like Jaden Smith, who wore a skirt for a 2016 Louis Vuitton campaign. He is considered as the spearhead of the movement, but then you’ve had fashion icons like Jared Leto, Ruby Rose, Lady Gaga and the likes always challenging this norm and Tilda Swinton being known to be the queen of androgyny. From trend set by renowned artists, the general public has quickly followed this and recently started to adopt some sort of androgyny to their style. Even mainstream genders have appreciated the step and adapted to genderless Fashion. We can argue that genderless Fashion has been a celebrity identity mold in the 1900s, especially by musical icons that partially fused their dress sense to be a little bit on the other side, stars like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Elton John are the known pioneers of this, but not in the manner in which it is being distributed as mainstream and societally acceptable opposed to the reverence that it had back in the day.
Yes, we do agree that gender fluidity and expression started in an era earlier than now, but as a statement, a differentiator, and more glaringly then than now. While having fashion choices that differ from gender norms is seen now as a fashion statement, It was considered a revolt against the social cultures that were more stringent then than now.
The lighter side
On a general level, you don’t have to worry about tricky questions like “what to wear” or “what to match” your blue denim. We oblige you to wear anything you love, take a chance, hire a stylist :), join in on the movement because really no one but you should care! The world is abandoning the rigidity of gender structures, menswear, womenswear, and gender stereotypes, and we see gender being a thing of the past and people identifying as whatever they deem fit. Wearing a skirt, identifying with your own curated gender or your sexuality shouldn’t dictate how you should be addressed or viewed by society. We are finally able to witness an age when the only opinion that matters is yours and more importantly, your choice. So, wear what you love and live the way you want to, judgment-free zone here!