Genderless fashion is the buzzword for many of today’s top designers.
MENSWEAR or womenswear – w ho cares? Genderless fashion is the buzz word for many of today' s top designers, highlighted at London Fashion Week by a string of androgynous touches on the catwalks.
From Christopher Kane's heavy, dark, asymmetric tailoring to Burberry's parade of male and female models in military overcoats and aviator jackets, masculine styling repeatedly stood out in the women' s autumn/ winter collections.
It's not just in London w here designers are experimenting with preconceptions about gender and identity.
Gucci has sent men dow n the catwalks in pussy bow sand hot pink suits under new creative director Alessandro Michele while Jaden Smith, son of American actor Will Smith, w as recently unveiled as the face of Louis Vuitton womenswear.
Transgender models such as Andreja Pejic and Lea T are among the most sought after in the industry.
One of its rising stars is American model Rain Dove, who, standing at 188 cm with chisel led features, models in both male and female fashion show s.
She attributes the change to the rise of social media, which mean that “brands are having to be more diverse whether they like it or not”.
“People are realising that they can't dupe people into thinking there's only one w ay to be, that a size zero is the most common thing in the w orld, that the only ( person) that could ev er afford a Chanel purse is w hite,” she said.
‘ Not just skinny white girls’
Dove, who calls herself a“gender capitalist” and came to modelling v ia firefighting and construction, says she got her big break w hen she w as cast for a Calv in Klein underwear show by a director who thought shew asa man.
She walked in two women' s show s in London this season and last year featured in both male and female show s in New York.
“All my life I' ve joked that I was an ugly w oman,” she said.“But as a male, they w ere like, this is top notch, he's male, he' s over 180 cm tall, h e's young, let's put him in.”
With an activist' s attitude, last year she posed for lingerie shots copying a Victoria's Secret campaign before photoshopping the models' heads on to her body to highlight that w omen should not be ashamed of how they look.
“I don't have time to get inline and I don't have time to be hindered by inequalities ,” she said.
“If someone calls me sir or if someone calls me ma'am, I don't care as long as they have positive intentions.”
Younger, up and coming design- ers in London seem to share her views, even if some at the top of the industry are still wedded to a more conservative viewpoint.
‘ Drop that label’
Claire Barrow , seen as among the most promising of London's new generation of designers for her punkish, artistic style, insists that her clothes are“always genderless ”.
“If somebody looks really good in something, I'll put them in it,” she explained .“I want to make sure that things change and it's not just skinny white girls walking down the cat walk .”
While the rise of social media may be a large factor, some experts believe there is also wider change at play as people in Britain and in other countries become more accepting of different gender identities.
“We' re trying to be more inclusive of difference, accepting diversity, accepting LGBT people and clothing to not just say whether you're male or female but about how you want to be as an individual ,” said Carolyn Mair, a reader in psychology at the London College of Fashion.
Dov e is hopeful that there could be ev en more fundamental changes in the industry soon.
“The next big step is to just drop that label of men’s and w omen’s.” she said.– AFP Relax new s
Andreja Pejic – who is among the most sought after in the industry – recently landed her first magazine cover.
One of the rising stars in fashion is transgender model Rain Dove who is featured in both male and female fashion shows.
Christopher Kane’s recent collection featured androgynous touches on the catwalk.