September 5, 2018

FREE TO BE

Words: Mitalee Deshpande
Concept & Photography: Sameer Belvalkar

Model: Svetlana Walden
Hair & Makeup: Sonal Burde
Styling: Monica Lundh

DECONSTRUCTING FASHION’S GENDER NEUTRAL MOVEMENT BECAUSE WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO BE HUMAN

GENDER

The battle to leave behind binary gender norms is on the rise, thanks to the myriad addition of gender identities. With runway trends hitting the skyline accompanied by gender-neutral fashion, the question here is: ‘Why not cross the line?' After all, ‘gender’ is undoubtedly the word of the moment. Despite still having a long way to go, awareness is increasing, acceptance is growing, and it seems like equality could one day be attainable. There aren’t many other public spheres as binary as clothing stores, all still clearly labelled with ‘women’ and ‘men’ sections. And so, it’s hard not to wonder, as our understanding and acceptance of the gender spectrum evolve, will fashion — one of the most gendered parts of our lives — also evolve?

It's no longer about gender equality as much as it is about gender neutrality. Gender ambiguity in fashion is more evolutionary than revolutionary
Issues like gender equality, gender expression, gender neutrality, and transgender visibility have become a part of our conversations.

NEUTRAL

Clothes aren't only one of the strongest tools for expressing our gender but they can also be amongst the most limiting. Since fashion is a lifestyle, laying restraints on it would mean restricting one’s right to live the way they want to. The biggest trend of gender-free fashion is breaking the rules ingrained in our minds. Androgynous fashion is fit to suit the needs of anyone. Fashion need not be controlled by race, religion, geography or gender. Breaking boundaries that create such divisions is where androgynous fashion comes in the picture. The advent of the metrosexual male spells the final fading away of the gender bias where the distinction between that which is strictly for men or women in clothing is no longer the norm. With the acceptance of the third gender, gender-based clothing is losing relevance.

MOVEMENT

Designers are creating styles that are now more unisexual in nature, and accessories such as nose rings and anklets are being sported by men on the ramp to great effect. Fashion weeks all around the globe are the much-needed platforms for all the fashion enthusiasts who, due to restricting societal norms, are unable to experiment with the clothing in their everyday lives. The fashion weeks see people from all classes of society strutting their best bits and pieces on the red carpet for the world to comment on. Changing the face of the industrial norms one skirt at a time, androgyny in fashion is the ultimate tribute to gender neutrality. There are no half measures when it comes to freedom. We either go all out, or we don’t.


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