Blurred lines

Gen­der­less fash­ion is the buzz­word for many of to­day’s top de­sign­ers.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING -

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.

— R R

Christo­pher Kane’s re­cent col­lec­tion fea­tured an­drog­y­nous touches on the cat­walk.

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