Gender Fluidity in Fashion
(30 Jun 2017)

Gender fluidity

Gender Fluidity in Fashion 
A look at menswear weeks across the globe

 
Gender fluidity. Quite the mouthful- though very much an appropriate term in our current fashion climate.  

Nicholas Strelitz Fashion Editor Expresso
By Nicholas Strelitz

 

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Vivienne Westwood Menswear SS/18 collection (Image – Vogue.com)

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Alexander McQueen SS/18 collection (credit – Vogue.com)

Looking through the Spring/Summer 2018 menswear collections from the past 3 weeks of catwalks – be it in London, Milan, or Paris – I was most taken aback by…wait for it….men in skirts!  Okay, not THE most revolutionary idea – no, but seen in this sort of volume, I was struck like never before.  At first, the instantaneous humour at seeing what has always been, in my own mindset, a female-only fashion.  But each time another well-known designer ushered out his or her models in this sort of dress (no pun intended….actually, definite pun intended), I became more and more transfixed on how wearable this garment actually is.
 
Yes, you still get the extreme version of the man in a skirt – the man in a strapless, black, volumized dress (see the Vivienne Westwood creation below), which always looks a little ridiculous, but done in a wearable way – think men in kilts –, like what designer Thom Browne managed to pull off…..brace yourself…..I think quite works. 

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Vivienne Westwood Menswear SS/18 collection (credit – Vogue.com)

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Thom Browne Menswear SS/18 collection (credit – Vogue.com)

 
And why not?  Why can’t a man wear a skirt, a crop top, a pussy-bow blouse….?  It’s 2017 after all.  We’re a progressive society, aren’t we?  Collections like Astrid Andersen and Gucci remind us that clothing for gender is merely a societal construct – one we learn very early on.  Imagine, for a second, if men had been nurtured to wear skirts and women pants – we could have gone this way very easily.  The Greeks and Romans – men that is – wore togas for goodness sakes (basically an off-the-shoulder dress……how in season!).
 
On the home-front, local designers like AKJP – fronted by Keith Henning and Jodi Paulsen – are masters of playing with proportions, cuts, and silhouettes, blurring the conventional line of what’s appropriate and for which gender.  Fashion, at its core, is about experimentation.  It’s about pushing the “norm” and redefining stereotypes.  Fashion, more than society around us, is much willing and able to change the way we think, or at the very least, get the conversation started.

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South Africa’s own AKJP (credit – AKJP)

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South Africa’s own AKJP (credit – AKJP)


Gender fluidity isn’t a new concept in fashion.  Designers like American Rick Owens and Belgian Ann Demeulemeester have been re-conceptualizing gender norms in garments for years.  It’s just that now, more than before, general society around them have started to wake-up.  Sheer volume and scale, coupled with a more awakened general public means that genderless fashion can finally begin its path to wearable fashion. No longer looked at as merely art or constume – good news gentelemen – men in skirts could become an image as commonplace as seeing women in skirts.  

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Rick Owens design (credit – Vogue.com)


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Anne Demeulemeester design (credit – Vogue.com)

 
The start of a real fashion revolution. 

 

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