Genderless, androgynous, unisex: these are words defining a new trend taking over the fashion world, be it for clothing or runway shows. This year, in particular, saw designers blurring gender lines and exhibiting women and menswear clothing together.
Many of these initiatives have more to do with marketing prowess: fashion brands and even magazines have mastered the art of making a name by appearing to be non-conformists. Vogue’s so-called gender fluid photo-shoot with Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik was one such example.
While some people hailed the project as revolutionary, many were quick to point out that gender fluid was more than just swapping clothes.
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For design houses, it is also a way to find new outlets for old clothing. After all, the tee shirt and jeans will sell faster if they aren’t identified solely with menswear or women’s clothing. The resulting publicity from such a move will also ensure that clothes fly off the shelves.
Another reason for such a decision could be hard economics. By fusing their male and female fashion shows, brands are cutting the costs of having two runway shows, which — at lakhs per show — makes sense.
But, changing times and trending news topics are also influencing the world of fashion. With homosexuality, gay marriage, feminism at the forefront of the world’s psyche, the fashion industry has followed suit.
Some labels like Gucci and Vivienne Westwood and others were already mixing feminine and masculine runway looks, but this season shows a sweeping change with fully-mixed shows.
Gucci’s Alessandro Michelle told WWD, for Michele, the decision was one that simply made sense. “It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today.”
This year, HUGO and Prada followed suit.
That gender itself has become fluid — more so as society evolves — could be the motivation for fashion’s switch from gendered shows. This changing attitude has led to many new brands such as Anaam, who showed a genderless collection for their GenNext show.
Internationally, Prada and Gucci showed mixed runway shows.
TLC welcomes this change — for whatever reason, it may be. And it will forever change the question: who wore it better?