Is Fashion Genderless Yet?
– Samar Sood
Bella Hadid struts down in an oversized black cigarette pant combo topped with a leather jacket at Alyx’smenswear collection. She closes the show looking like she snaffled the outfit from her boyfriend’s closet. Whereas, Alok Vaid-Menon, an artist, designer, and a significant part of LGBTQ community is dismissed from a fashion magazine photoshoot. Apparently, the photographer wants the picture to be the best and not just politically correct.
These references indeed beg the questions — Is fashion genderless yet? We are in 2020, but have we accepted the androgynous fashion in India yet? How blurred are gender roles when it comes to the fashion industry?
The Changing Times & Androgynous Affair in India
As far as we remember, pinks & blues have been defining the fashion choices for genders. However, as we step in this increasingly inclusive decade, it’s time to acknowledge that fashion choices can outvie gender normalities. Where some fashion brands like H&M and Zara are all set to launch their unisex lines, brands like Toogood and Blindness never believed in binary gender identity at the first place.
Amidst new generation rejecting the binary labels and instead preferring “they/them” pronouns, how well do you think androgynous fashion is doing in India and countries alike? Well, we can’t deny the inclusivity when it comes to strutting down the fashion runways in androgynous clothing — the best blend of masculinity & femininity. Many modern or say, genderless fashion brands like Bobo Calcutta, Anam, and Bloni have showed support for gender-fluid fashion in an attempt to help India come out of a regressive approach of making gender-focused fashion choices. Yes, men can wear pink with a dash of glitter and women can certainly rock a pantsuit.
Celebrities in Charge — Androgynous Fashion Icons
Talking about the changing times, another factor that plays an important role in creating awareness about genderless fashion is – the celebrity takes on it. In the west, we see androgynous fashion icons like Harry Styles, TimothéeChalamet, and Troye Sivan changing the mainstream perception of masculinity with more evolved fashion choices.
Having said that, India isn’t behind when it comes to celebrities embracing genderless fashion staples and brands that support androgyny. We all know how Ranveer Singh has always been surprising and throwing media off balance with gender-fluid fashion for good. However, Ranveer Singh is not the only one rocking skirts. Celebrities like Ayushmann Khurana, Jim Sarbh, and Prateek Babbar have been donning feminine clothing, jewellery, and makeup with confidence.
Not only men, celebrities like Priaynka Chopra, Anushaka Sharma, and Sonam Kapoor have also been rocking menswear fashion like a pro.
Are You Ready to Get on the Bandwagon?
Steering our sights a bit away from these glam androgynous fashion icons, do you believe this gender stereotype in fashion is finally ready to breathe its last? Or, all these genderless fashion movements are there to create a hype for sales? Well, let’s choose to doubt the latter. Rather, it’s safe to say the choice is a free will.
“We are not a trend. We are not a moment. We are a movement.” — Alok Vaid-Menon. It’s true we have come a long way, making corsets & puffed sleeves comfortable for men and power suits & military coats acceptable for women. However, for many, especially in India, it still might look like a distant dream. People will still stare, comment, and objectify what seems to be unusual. But, should it stop you? I would rather support making strides in the age, where people are becoming more acceptable. It’s 2020, it should not be an option for someone to take their desired fashion quotient a notch or two down just to fit in. The world is changing, so should you.
The Future is Fluid — Gucci
We are slowly yet steadily escaping from the age of toxic masculinity towards accepting more gender-fluid traits. Fashion should not be seen as a way to reinforce social constructs of the genders. Instead, it should be seen as a powerful weapon to redefine them. Androgynous fashion in India can be a great way to open doors for experimental styling, dramatic silhouettes, and fabric manipulation. It is way more than just dressing women in pants and men in skirts. It’s time to let the fashion space be a safe home for brands to be more innovative and people to be less afraid.