Men’s Fashion Week, Women’s Fashion Week – it’s a bit dull really and it seems, frankly, quite dated. The fashion industry tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to things like gender and sexuality. ‘“I think that my men’s clothes look as good on women as my women’s clothing,” influential Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto told The New York Times in 1983. “I always wonder who decided that there should be a difference in the clothes of men and women.”’ I read this in an article recently on genderless fashion and the date really stuck out – 1983. That was, and I know I sound like a real Gen Z here, but come on that was a long time ago. But as ahead of the curve as Yamamota may have been, it’s been 36 years and we’re still not there.
I’m currently doing some pre-season work for Men’s Fashion Week. A side story – I was in an interview the other day and I mentioned men’s fashion week and the producer couldn’t help but laugh and mock its irrelevance. Men’s Fashion Week in London isn’t ALL that important by the sounds of it (come on it’s the 4th-6th of January – people are still hungover at that point). But anyway, my point is I’ve never really paid much attention to men’s fashion, especially not in London.
Therefore, the way I dress has never been related to what ‘gender’ a piece of clothing is. I’ve written an article on it already, so I won’t bore you with the details again… But forget me, let’s look at people you actually care about!
Harry Styles – he just hosted SNL and he walked out in heels and yellow high waisted flares. Since his Lights Up video, I’ve paid close attention to his fashion and he constantly makes what are considered to be ‘gender bending’ choices (a phrase I hate but we’ll run with it for now).
The now named most influential man in fashion, pretty boy Timothée Chalamet. At The King launch during the Venice Film Festival, he wore that beautiful Haider Ackermann suit with the silk blouse, another ‘gender bending’ choice.
These are two of the biggest men in media right now (well Harry Styles has been around for longer than a hot moment) and their fashion influences I’m sure are wide ranging and important. But more importantly, it is reflective of a very important shift, and I think a fundamental shift, in the way that fashion is moving.
Younger people no longer care so much about what part of the department store they get their clothes from, if they think it’s their style. Besides, the majority of the people I know shop in charity shops and vintage stores where you can’t even tell what half the clothing’s gender is ‘supposed’ to be. If it’s cute, we’ll wear it.
So why is the industry not yet caught up to this? The future is categorically going to be genderless shopping, at least for any brand that is trying to capture the younger audience in a new way. Having spoken to many young designers recently in preparation for SS20, I can’t name more than a few who were particularly passionate about which gender wore their clothes, a question I quite pointedly asked quite a few of them.
Times are moving and things are changing, and I want the industry to be ahead of the curve again. We need to be forging the shift towards a more genderless, less defined space. As ever, I believe that clothes can be a way to fundamentally shift this. By changing the notions of gender by breaking down the gendered definitions of what people wear every day, we will change what people see and conceive as ‘gendered’ constantly and everywhere. So, more than anything, let’s just get a move on…
“Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes.” – Diana Vreeland
Check out some of these great brands – https://wtvox.com/fashion/gender-free-luxury-fashion-brands-in-2019/