The fashion industry that turns its wheels on the macho man and the sexualization of female form is on the verge of a big change with the new generation of designers!

 Throughout history, fashion and culture have always been intertwined. And this makes clothes go beyond a fabric that covers our bodies. Our clothing, which can represent ourselves, different cultural elements, and even our political beliefs, can also be used as a way to challenge traditional expectations such as gender roles. Though fashion designers played with the idea of gender-neutral, unisex collections so far have been looking more like a PR effort than a long-term change. However, with smaller labels and the new generation of designers, the industry perhaps finally is ready to understand that gender fluidity is more than men wearing dresses and women wearing suits.

Imagery via Gucci

Creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele weaves a web between genders by making women wear from men collection and vice versa on the runway. Greater acceptance of gender fluidity in the high fashion community has also affected luxury and ready-to-wear. Zara, which launched the Ungendered collection in 2016, was followed by H&M with a gender-neutral collection.

Reconstructing the colourful gender stereotypes started because of brands like Gucci. Gucci didn’t only question the relation between colours and genders but also set the forms free from their chains. In 2016 Gucci redefined the “masculinity” by showing suits made from loose silk, donned with ribbons and floral print on the runway. The collection being fluid between femininity and masculinity showed how progressive Gucci is as a high luxury brand. The perfume Mémoire  D’une Odeur’s ad came out last year was different from what we always see from hypersexual perfume commercials and, it amazingly showed the gender fluidity! The lead was, of course, Harry Styles!

Masterfully playing with the idea of the gender was the duo, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. They created Eckhaus Latta -a brand that is experimental and doesn’t consider gender as a base- in 2011. Since they established the label, they gained much love from the fashion industry with their beautiful and wearable designs and, their real and natural approach to gender-neutrality. The brand became authentic and sincere without caring about the idea of coming up with a mission like challenging the idea of gender. The brand also categorises its e-commerce site not by gender but by the type of clothing. The duo is very firm about never making separate men’s and women’s collections and runways.

Imagery via Jeff Katz

It’s impossible to not see gender fluidity regardless of the genders of the models in Rick Owen’s all creations since Owen’s first debut in 2002 New York Fashion Week. In his world, everyone can wear capes! Men wearing skirts isn’t an innovative step, nor is something new. According to Owens, any type of clothing piece shouldn’t have a gender in any way. That’s why in his runway shows he never defines men wearing a dress as a cross-dresser. So, Owens’ designs don’t carry heavy gender labels and, they destroy the norms!

In an interview, “I don’t understand why this generation thinks they invented gender fluidity,” the designer once said. “They did it harder, stronger, and louder in the ‘70s.” and, he is so right. The seeds of genderfluidity were sown at the end of 60s, beginning of 70s with Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Prince’s sequined kimonos and with styles that are not afraid of femininity. Lucky us, designers like Owens, Michele, and Eckhaus are very committed to sprouting this seed by making fluidity the norm!

Cover imagery via Jersey Heritage Collections