Fashion Knows No Gender
BY: PAOLA FERNANDEZ & ULYLISA MALDONADO
The fashion world has always been a creative and diverse place where norms are often challenged. One of the many trends that defies traditions is androgynous style. This genre of fashion consists of dressing in a manner that does not conform with a gender, but promotes the idea of fluidity.
This trend was hugely popularized in the early 1970s when David Bowie originated his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, an alien rockstar with a full face of makeup, dressed in a tight jumpsuit and platform boots.
Another performer who rocked an eccentric androgynous look was Prince. From the beginning of his career, the Purple Rain singer incorporated colorful blazers, black eyeliner, and extravagant hair dos.
Since then, androgyny in fashion has stuck around. Designer brands such as Prada, Gucci and Givenchy have featured an array of androgynous collections on their runway shows. This trend is seen in a high fashion setting, and has become prominent in street fashion.
School campuses are a hub for students to showcase their personal style and make fashion statements.
Fashion merchandising student Ivan Ramirez shared his thoughts about the role of androgyny in modern fashion. “I think it is part of a mega trend in society where there is a continuous blurring of lines between male and female designated clothing,” he said.
Ramirez cites the growing acceptance of different gender identifications as contribution to his shopping habits, stating that he has purchased pieces from women’s lines because “sometimes I just really like a design that I can’t find in the men’s section.”
The craze behind androgynous fashion is not just about style. It can also be about comfort. For journalism major Kristine Bañuelos, choosing a look depends on her mood and functionality. For this outfit, Bañuelos said, “I chose it because I love the oversized, comfy fit of men’s t-shirts, but I also wanted to accentuate my hips by tying the flannel around my waist. My gold hoop earrings are a must every time!
Belief that men and women should look or dress a certain way stems from “gender norms.” According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the concept of gender norms are the ideas or “rules” that say how a man or woman should behave or look are blurred in today’s society. The tricky part about gender norms are that they are ingrained in our minds from birth, and influence the way we are treated pertaining to our gender. The most common example is pink being used to indicate a girl and blue being used to indicate a boy when baby genders are revealed. Gender rules impact an individual’s sexuality by shaping of communication styles, body image and self-esteem, and sexual behaviors and attitudes.
“When boys play rough with each other, people will often just shrug it off and say ‘boys will be boys’,” said child development major, Stacie Phan. “Girls are treated like delicate flowers and viewed as weak in many cultures.”
Covergirl recently broke the barrier when they selected James Charles, a 17-year-old makeup artist and YouTube sensation as their new cover boy earlier this month. This bold move furthers the recent trend of questioning gender boundaries in the fashion and beauty industry and is a forecast for the spread of it into other industries.
Whether it’s borrowing from the boys or the girls, androgynous fashion is present and growing. How will this impact the way you express your style?