Fashion has various interpretations, but the most common belief is that it is a way to express emotions, ideas, and above all, one’s personality. Unfortunately, fashion is very gender-specific. Although it is now slowly changing, both men and women have struggled to find acceptance when they challenge gender-specific notions. This is especially true for men in the fashion industry.
Several fashion influencers such as Harry Styles have strongly propagated gender fluidity and non-binary fashion. Harry says fashion is to be enjoyed, and should not be about being a man or a woman.
Many fashion influencers believe that now is the time to bridge the divide between male and female attire. When asked about the gender divide, Harry Styles said, “There are clothes for men and there are clothes for women, once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play.”
He then went on to describe his thoughts on women’s fashion, “I’ll go into shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything – anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself.”
In December last year, Vogue did something bold and unimaginable. The cover page featured a solo male for the first time. This man was none other than Harry Styles. Even though Vogue featured men like Kanye West, Zayn Malik and Justin Bieber on the cover in the past, none of them went solo.
After the headlines ‘Harry Styles In a Dress’ spread like wildfire, Harry became the face of gender-neutral fashion. Wearing a shiny tuxedo jacket over a custom-made Gucci ball gown, Harry inspired men in the fashion industry.
When asked about this bold step, Harry answered, “There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means – it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
Standing up to conventions is not easy. As expected, the cover shoot drew mixed reactions. After his picture went viral, many conservative celebrities expressed their dissent by saying, “Bring Back Manly Man.” Fortunately, those who believe that fashion should be gender-neutral stood up for Harry Styles In a Dress and extended their support to him.
Fashion shouldn’t discriminate between genders; it should be a platform to express oneself. Fashion has always aimed to be inclusive and diverse. But increasingly, freedom is under fire, whether fashion, art or speech. Harry Styles In a Dress stirred a fresh debate on gender binary. It also highlighted other famous celebrities who, like Harry Styles, have walked the path less trodden. Let’s take a look at some of them.
After accepting his non-binary identity, Jonathan openly talked about his discontentment about not being able to express himself fully. However, he has now taken to dressing the way he likes, breaking down the shackles of binary society. He has been a tremendous inspiration for his fans.
Being a renowned Grammy Award winner, Sam Smith has always been at the center of attention. Despite his fame, Sam was very dissatisfied. This is evident from his statement, “Gender, for me, has been nothing but traumatizing and challenging throughout my life. After being able to talk about my gender expression, I feel such a weight has been lifted.” This shows how much celebrities too struggle to find acceptance in society.
Billy Porter has been a beacon for all those who wanted to express their gender freely. He surprised the world with his tuxedo dress, which is a beautiful assimilation of male and female attire. The dress was haunting, and captured the pain, struggle and victory of people fighting to break down gender barriers.
Who could ever forget Michael Urie’s half-male, half-female persona at the 2019 Met Gala? His portrayal of the balance between men and female attire with his half glittered suit and half pink tulle dress was iconic.
The fashion industry is slowly learning that fashion is universal. Harry Styles In a Dress has now become the face of resistance against gender division. Along with him and other male celebrities, several female models have also joined the fight against gender stereotypes with their gender-bending fashion. Fashinza supports these gender heroes and celebrates their liberating ideas of gender neutrality in the fashion world.