While many trends concerning the way clothing looks have surfaced during recent fashion weeks around the world, only one has the potential to alter the very core of the fashion industry itself, and perhaps even form part of a major development in human culture. More than ever, designers are embracing non-binary or genderless designs, opening new doors of creative and social freedom.
Gucci is often considered as the leader of the gender-free movement in fashion, and under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele the iconic brand only continues to make progress. The label’s recent show proved once again that androgynous is more exciting than either side of the binary, with pieces and looks that fluidly defied categorization and reveled in an idea of beauty that is simply human and free from expectations of gender. In addition to presenting clothing from men’s collections on female models and vice versa, Gucci launched a campaign for gender equality called Chime for Change that raises money for projects and advocacy around the world and releases reports on young people’s feelings on gender and fluidity.
Thom Browne, also a strong voice in the creative conversation around gender fluidity, took a different but similarly exciting approach. At his recent show in Paris, almost every look was modeled on both a male and female body, for which they were exquisitely tailored. Models who did not walk in pairs appeared in animal masks, obscuring their identity and amplifying the idea of expression and beauty that is free from gender.
As more designers and labels embrace gender fluidity (including Celine, below), the way the brand relates itself to the consumer will necessarily need to change. Will we see the end of men’s and women’s collections and fashion shows? Will more types of bodies be included on the runway, and might that mean they will be less objectified? And, if these changes come to pass in the fashion industry and elsewhere, how will the world respond? Will the social constructs of gender eventually fade away? It seems that there can be no going back. Whatever happens, one thing is for certain: the future is fluid.