Genderless fashion: trend or necessity?

This topic is not new in the headlines of the most prestigious fashion magazines. The words genderless, genderfluid or agender are already familiar to all of us, although some of us are still in the “extravagant” era. Digging deep into the matter, two doubts arise in my mind that are necessary to understand something: is it a trend or a necessity?

The first thing I question myself is whether we are really working the genderless fashion in the best way. While we believe we are buying a garment for women or men, we are actually finding small aspects, details that label this garment as specifically for women or men, and not as unisex.  The fact that Zara sells you pants in the purest masculine style with straight cuts but with microscopic pockets designed exclusively for women, leads us to think that we continue to attach labels to everything. 

Prince © Getty Images

The way we dress does not determine who we are, or at least it should not. Fashion allows us to express ourselves, but what if up until now fashion has ruled over us and even if it made us think that it made us free, it was only putting more barriers in our way? At the end of the day, dressing masculine is considered masculine, and dressing feminine is considered feminine. In my opinion, sometimes dressing masculine can be a great expression of femininity. This is not about taking the opposite point of view. Clothes should not define us, we should define the clothes we choose to wear. 

In my opinion, another mistake that is being made when talking about genderless fashion is the continuous fixation on talking about minimal and neutral fashion. Maybe it’s about the fear of being judged and staying in the comfort zone. Or it’s just nice to support the trend and get into the role of a revolutionary fashionista Carrie Bradshaw, but putting it out there is too much of a risk. Are we really ready for a future without labels? 

Prince, Elton John, Freddie Mercury among many others made the partial or complete disappearance of gender in the way of dressing or behaving a reality, or at least they were some of those who managed to take it to an unimaginable level. Even so, their way of dressing has always been catalogued under the term “extravagance”. It is classified as something out of a context of the everyday reality, an unfeasible form for the daily routine. Simply a reality that lives on stages, thus cutting off the way to free expression. 

© Tyler Mitchell for Vogue December Issue

I still do not know if I am surprised that this reality has not been accepted, since it is an opportunity of freedom for each and every one of us. The thing is, Harry Styles has starred on the December cover of Vogue USA, and not only he HAS broken a record by being the first man to pose solo for the publication, but he also got bathed in criticism. Critics who were also clamoring the need for the return of manly men. Perhaps it’s that Twitter makes us feel like the most powerful people on the planet, or that we simply continue to live with the certainty that a manly man is the one who brings home the strength and change our light bulbs. Unfortunately for some people, women and men in blouses and skirts are capable of changing our own light bulbs, in heels, in suits and ties, with fake eyelashes or unshaven.

Julia Roberts in Golden Globes © Ron Galella

A Golden Globes, a 23-year-old Julia Roberts triumphing with “Pretty Woman” and the premiere of the blockbuster “Nothing Hill”, all eclipsed by a man’s Armani suit and unshaven armpits. Why? Because of a woman. Now the topic is being talked about as a benchmark for women’s empowerment and genderless fashion. Perhaps the agender concept will become a reality when similar issues don’t grab the headlines. When a woman in a man’s suit will not be a revolution. 

The cases are endless, and the criticism travels further. Multiple personalities and celebrities have already celebrated and explored the boundaries/non-boundaries of gender. From Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, Harry Brant, to David Bowie, Jared Leto or Ruby Rose. As well as brands such as Palomo Spain, Comme des Garçons, Maison Margiela or Gucci. But are we ready to make this decades-long trend a necessity? I open debate.

Palomo Spain AW20 © Getty Images

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