Is Fashion Finally Ready to Move Beyond Gendered Style?

'Fashion has the power to break down these old constructs.'

7/21/2021 7:51:00 PM

'Fashion has the power to break down these old constructs.'

Telfar Clemens and Ashton Sanders attend the 2019 Met Gala Shopping comes with its own frustrations when we're forced to stick to one of two genders: male or

Telfar Clemens and Ashton Sanders attend the 2019 Met GalaShopping comes with its own frustrations when we're forced to stick to one of two genders: male or female. The male section typically has oversize silhouettes, whereas the female section is often full of body-conscious silhouettes and feminine finishes. So what do you do if you don't fall into these narrow categories or you want to shop across genders? For a long time, fashion didn't really have an answer to this (aka, it's

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yourgender-neutral apparel, the industry is being forced to question outdated gender norms.Sure, androgynous fashion isn't new (think Billy Porter, Twiggy, Annie Lennox, David Bowie, and Prince), but many contemporary brands like Pyer Moss, Eckhaus Latta, Bode, Nudie Jeans, and Telfar are embracing a more fluid aesthetic and creating clothing that can be worn by everyone, no matter their gender identity.

Image Source:A model walks the runway at Telfar's fashion show in January 2020."We tend to gender everything. Our entire world is built on a binary construct"Robert Smith, founder of Phluid Project, a nonbinary clothing store aimed to make genderless fashion and accessories available worldwide, headtopics.com

summed it upperfectly:"A dress is a dress, a skirt's a skirt, a jacket's a jacket, lipstick is lipstick. We tend to gender everything. Our entire world is built on a binary construct, and the objective of Phluid Project is to allow folks to express themselves in the way that they feel comfortable — the way that feels authentic to them."

Binary Social ConditioningLike several industries, fashion has much work to do to become inclusive and representative to all. The reason for that? Social conditioning. Because fashion trends, seasons, and runway shows have been categorized for years by gender norms, a binary system was created. From a young age, we've been made to believe that there are things to be consumed either by men or women, which has affected how we speak, look (or are supposed to look), and view ourselves. The language is on products, marketing signs, and every beauty product out there. And when you are shown one image so many times — male or female — it is hard to feel welcomed or supported if you don't fit into that mold.

People have gone against the grain by bending and blending wardrobes. We saw this with Coco Chanel: back when WWI saw women shortening their skirts and tossing their corsets, Chanel made it chic to put ordinary women in trousers for the first time. Or Katharine Hepburn, who was popular for suits and button-downs, with her infamous line,"Anytime I hear a man say he prefers a woman in a skirt, I say, 'Try one.'" A piece of fabric, material, textile, or garment has no inherent gender.

How Fashion Designers Are HelpingFortunately, with a quick look at the runways, magazines, and Instagram feeds over the last several months, you'll notice a shift in the way we see gender within fashion to support large audiences on social media and beyond. headtopics.com

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