Gender Fluidity taking Over Fashion

Imagine walking into a department store that was not divided based on gender. There were no men and men and women collections, but one collection for all. That is the basic definition of the fashion industry becoming gender fluid. And that is where we’re heading, with more and more people choosing fashionable items while disregarding who the piece was initially created for.

What is masculinity?

Melissa Hajj, Lebanese designer for the upcoming brand C’est N’importe Quoi, explains how in school one of the first things they were taught was how Giorgio Armani created a suit for women in a time period when suits were only worn by men. He did this when women started entering the work field, and it shows how strongly society impacts fashion.

“Gender neutral fashion is a reflection of a society that is becoming more inclusive,” Hajj says, highlighting the rapid changes we’re seeing right now in fashion. 

Many big names are challenging traditional fashion norms, such as Young Thug and Harry Styles, who have both become influencers and leaders in defining genderless clothing. 

“I think people are finally realizing that a lot of us don’t fall under two sexes and the gender roles each pertain to, and the easiest way to express that is through fashion,” says Maria Atik, fashion lover and enthusiast. “As someone who identifies as gender-fluid, my gender expression tends to shift along a spectrum,” she says. “The way I express that physically also shifts from day to day.” 

© Melissa Hajj

Many big names are challenging traditional fashion norms, such as Young Thug and Harry Styles, who have both become influencers and leaders in defining genderless clothing. Harry Styles started his journey by walking down the red carpet at the Met Gala in women’s clothing, and later appeared on the cover of Vogue wearing a dress. “When you take away ‘there’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously, you open up the arena in which you can play,” Styles says in the interview with Vogue. 

Billy Porter, another fashion icon, adds to this argument by expressing how he wants to be a walking piece of political art. He says his goal is to challenge expectations. “What is masculinity? What does that mean?”

Wearing items from the women’s sections

This is where the split comes. When wearing a certain item of clothing, no matter what collection it belongs to, doesn’t have to be an expression of your sexuality, or characteristic of your sex. Fashion is a means of self-expression and isn’t limited to anything. 

Young Thug dropped his mixtape No, My Name Is Jeffrey wearing a dress by Alessandro Trincone on the cover. Later on, he mostly rumors about his sexuality and masculinity. He denied all the claims and explained his choice of clothing in an interview with Big Boy Neighborhood

The artist and designer of the dress both believe in androgynous clothing, clothing that combines both masculine and feminine characteristics. Trincone, Italian designer for Not Just a Label, writes in the biography for his latest collection, “Areinmi is dedicated to all the people I inspire and who, in turn, support me. Homosexuals, heterosexuals, neutrosexuals, students, all men and women of all ages.”

The fashion industry is heading towards gender fluidity and androgynous collections, urging designers to focus on creating exceptional pieces for all rather than limit them to a certain group.

The statement cover had nothing to do with the artist’s sexuality; yet that was the main focus. People were shocked to see a rapper wear women’s clothing. But he wasn’t the only one. In July 2019, Vogue wrote an article this issue titled This Was The Decade That Hip-Hop Style Got Femme.

Today, we find ourselves asking: are these pieces still considered Femme? Or were they just picking out statement pieces?

“Fashion is a statement, it empowers us, for instance, the impact of a garment is perceived differently from one individual to another, because it merges with our personality,” says Assaad Awad, Lebanese and Spanish multidisciplinary artist, commenting on the article. “It is way beyond gender and sex.”

The fashion industry is heading towards gender fluidity and androgynous collections, urging designers to focus on creating exceptional pieces for all rather than limit them to a certain group.

The future of fashion 

Separate collections for men and women won’t be needed anymore. People will simply choose an item because they like it without checking who it was targeted to, leading many designers to adapt to this shift in consumer behavior. 

© Vogue

“When designing an item, you don’t think of the physical. You’re thinking of an idea and bringing it to life,” Hajj says. “It’s like you have a canvas in front of you, but instead of painting, you’re molding it on the human’s body.” She has been doing this since the start of her career. In her first collection, she played with the human shape eliminating the ability to recognize one’s form, curves, or sex.

Hajj is not the only one who has followed this type of thinking. When Awad designs an item, he designs it for people. “I focus on the concept and impact of the piece itself,” he says. “I don’t target my designs thinking about a specific sexual orientation.” 

Fashion will always have a big influence on us and vice versa. Whether we are feeling extremely happy, or eager to prove a political point, fashion will always be a main means of expression. We’re slowly but surely reaching a time where limits will be nonexistent, especially in the fashion industry. Statement pieces are slowly becoming the new norm and fluidity is taking over.

So, enjoy your outfit and never think twice if a piece catches your eye!

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