The fashion industry has always been separating their collections to cater to different genders. But now, the lines are getting blurred, and the concepts of masculinity and femininity no longer define the clothing people wear. Soon, various brands are embracing fluidity in fashion.
Fashion houses like Saint Laurent hopped on to the progressive shift, casting many gender fluid, trans, and non-binary models like Andreja Pejic and Elliott Sailors. Saint Laurent once chose a female model, Saskia De Brauw, to front their menswear line. Meanwhile, Gucci has recently done a ‘co-ed’ runway show with models sporting genderless clothing (think men in skirts and long dresses). Thom Browne also gave his new menswear collection a subversive edge having male models strut down the runway in high heels.
But then, some brands still seem to be missing the mark. Zara recently came out with a gender neutral range. The brand named the line as “Ungendered”, but instead of coming out with actual gender neutral clothing, they only sold basic menswear-leaning pieces. Basic tees, jeans, and jackets do not equate to genderless fashion–in fact, it’s essentially unisex. Women in these campaigns seemed like the clothes were only lent to them, unlike for the male models’ case where all pieces were a perfect fit.
Selling clothes that are generally directed to masculine dressing does not ‘challenge norms’. Instead, it solely builds the notion that it is socially acceptable for women to wear men’s clothes. Marketing oversized denim shirts and sweatpants (a.k.a safe, basic pieces), as gender neutral clothing only comes off as an advertising ploy.
Fashion, particularly high street, has a long way to go in terms of truly understanding gender diversity and fluidity. These bland, shapeless designs that contrast the concept of gender fluidity fail to create a discussion about its true meaning, and it only comes off as an exploitative. It’s fashion’s responsibility to be socially-conscious too.
As a drag queen, avant-garde fashion icon, and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 winner, Sasha Velour would rap, “Gender is a construct, tear it apart”.
In-article photos: Vogue | Fashion United
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