Fashion, Lifestyle, Popular Stories

Blurring the Lines of Fashion

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen many embrace gender fluidity and convey their gender expression through fashion, especially through mainstream media and social channels. These people range from artists, designers and everyday people interested in sharing their own experiences with their fashion identity.

This manner of dress is known as androgynous fashion and is defined by sustainable fashion magazine WTVOX as “clothing and accessories designed to avoid creating a distinction between masculine and feminine physical characteristics and to express non-binary gender identity.”

One of the most recent cases of gender-bending fashion that went viral across multiple platforms was when singer Harry Styles was displayed on the cover of American Vogue wearing Gucci and featured a dress by emerging gender-fluid designer Harris Reed and kilts by Comme des Garçons and Wales Bonner. Many on social media expressed their displeasure at him breaking social gender norms by wearing clothing that society has deemed “made for women.” This opened up the discussion on whether he and others who live by the gender-fluid lifestyle were threatening masculinity and femininity.

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Styles certainly isn’t the first to experiment with androgynous fashion. Throughout the years, we’ve seen stars like Prince, Janelle Monae, Ruby Rose, among others, express themselves through androgynous fashion. In 2016 Jaden Smith landed a Louis Vuitton womenswear campaign in which he sported a skirt and instantly became a champion for breaking gender norms through style. Latin trap and reggaeton star, Bad Bunny, is also known for rocking eye-catching nail art and rapper Lil Nas X is frequently seen on red carpets sporting colorful and patterned suits with flamboyant accessories.

Alongside these artists, Billy Porter of the Netflix series ‘Pose’ has made headlines for his gender-bending fashion choices at various public events. It was his 2020 Academy Awards look in which he and stylist Sam Ratelle collaborated on an elaborate black velvet tuxedo ball gown with CFDA member, Christian Siriano, that brought great joy to fashion blogs all over the globe. Siriano is known for defying societal norms by being inclusive of all sizes and collaborating with retailers to make his designs accessible at affordable prices.

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Perhaps it’s due to the recent onslaught of individuals throwing gender expectations out the window that many are embracing their own fashion fluidity. Juliet Meth, a content creator, chronicles the androgynous lifestyle through a blog titled, Andremme Life, in which the hope is to create a space where others who share the lifestyle won’t feel like outsiders. The blog covers the staples within an androgynous wardrobe, adventures with drag and experiences within LGBTQ+ culture.

We’re also seeing emerging, sustainable and ethical fashion brands that cater to the gender-fluid market, along with historically established brands creating spaces in which their gender-neutral clients can have enjoyable shopping experiences. Androgynous Fox and VEEA are just two sustainable and ethical clothing brands that offer low-cost options to those seeking a gender-fluid wardrobe. Marc Jacobs has also recently launched “Heaven by Marc Jacobs” which is marketed towards “girls who are boys and boys who are girls and those who are neither.” Lastly, Alessandro Michele’s previously mentioned Gucci has launched “Gucci MX” where the pieces from the womenswear and menswear collections are presented together to create a new shopping experience.

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Social media has definitely cast a spotlight on those who experiment with gender-fluid fashion, and perhaps that’s why we’re seeing so much of it today, but androgynous fashion is a concept that has existed for years. The recent onslaught of mainstream attention around the topic has served to create important discussions. As Rebecca Robins, co-author of Meta-luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence, has stated, “Fashion has always been a really powerful lens through which to translate the big subjects.”