I Dress, Therefore I am: Gender Fluidity in Fashion

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In late August when Pink accepted the VMAs Video Vanguard Award, rather than simply making a speech about gratitude and creativity, she chose to recount how her daughter had struggled with her own self-acceptance. In the video that went viral her words echoed the current sociological conversations surrounding depictions of gender.

Fashion conscious or not every day we dress ourselves in sartorial statements. Be it intentionally or not, what we wear is and always has been an expression of identity.

Recently, growing awareness of gender ambiguity and social advancements for the LGBTQ community in the media have had a powerful impact on fashion. Designers continue to tackle the perplexity that the role clothing and fashion play in gender expression and social perceptions of gendered bodies through their collections. For generations fashion kept the stereotyping of clothing, responding to and partly setting society’s expectations for gender roles: dresses for girls and trousers for boys, for instance.

Whilst many brands still uphold this binary we look towards the social influencers who advocate for social change through their androgynous styles. Siôbhan Corbin’s (@siobhxncorbin) - 21-year-old from Bath – individual style plays upon feminine/masculine conventions: ‘I am always up for trying new things. I like to incorporate your archetypal girly things, i.e. pink hair, but mixing it with a boyish hair cut or combining a boyish chino with a floral top’ – that sort of thing. With fashion icons such as: David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Alexa Chung and Luca Fersko, Corbin looks towards the pioneers with a legacy that extends far beyond the binary codes of gender.

 

Such experimentation of conventions is not limited to womenswear. One of the male manifestations of androgynous fashion, rapper Young Thug explained (as part of his Calvin Klein campaign) that ‘I feel there’s no such thing as gender.’ Such a statement became clear when he chose to wear a dress by Alessandro Trincone on the cover of his 2016 album No, My Name is Jeffery. In several magazine and fashion spreads, the rapper has donned luxury women’s clothing simply because they’re comfier than men’s. In conversation with GQ he revealed ‘ninety per cent of my clothes are womens’.

 

Image via VFILES

Zara have recently joined the gender fluid movement with the brand’s new unisex clothing line. The Spanish giant realised a 16-piece collection of unisex items including jeans, shorts, sweatshirts and jumpers all in neutral colours. With retailers like Selfridges, which last year launched its Agenderspace, the line between male and female codes is clearly becoming increasingly blurred in the industry.

So, next time you find yourself browsing the opposite sexes clothing section for an oversized t-shirt just know your part of something bigger. It might feel like we’re blind to change as we’re immersed in this current cultural shift, but the signs all point to a new gender fluidity – and, crucially, positivity surround it.

 

 

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