Being forward thinking has always been an element of fashion; designers shape the visual future of culture through digital media, social influencers and art. It thus comes to no surprise that the future of fashion would rely on the values of the current generation, and reflect its ambitious ideals. Fashion is entering an exciting time in the exploration of gender neutral clothing, considering colors and fit, as well as removing gender from the garment altogether.
Established and renown designers such as Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney are embracing words like androgynous, gender neutral, genderless, unisex, fluid and made-to-measure to describe their pieces. And while many fashion designers tends to be closely tied with the gay community, non-binary creators such as MI Leggett from Official Rebrand are contributing to a more inclusive view of the fashion industry. Check out the fashion up-and-coming changemakers here.
The fashion industry isn’t solely changing its representation through its clothing, but also through the people showcasing it. The representation of transgender models, both in physical and digital spaces has never been as high as right now. Valentina Sampaio, for instance, is Victoria Secret’s first trans model as well as the first trans model on the cover of Vogue Paris and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
Soon after, Leyna Bloom became the first transgender model of color to feature on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
On the trans masculine spectrum, Chella Man has shared his transition across his social media platforms which led to a modeling contract, creating visibility not only for transmasculine people of color but deaf individuals as well. Then, Nathan Westling’s coming out presented transgender models on bigger platforms, as he had been working with Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Prada as a top model pre-transition.
Plus size clothing
We know how difficult shopping can needlessly be when the fashion industry forgets about you. And although we have a long way to go in normalizing that all body types should be able to find fitting, flattering clothing, the impact of body positivity activists have helped in making this issue more visible! There has been a more conscious effort to include all people in casual attire, formalwear and even sportswear, reputably horrible in its body sizing range. Unfortunately, inclusive sizing is coming at a price tag; some companies such as New Look have been caught charging a tax on plus-size clothing, which doesn’t exactly equate progress. Thankfully, the work of activists and social media have helped raise awareness of issues and hold companies accountable when possible.
Hair matters! The LGBTIQ+ community tends to have a close relationship with hairstyles, whether it be cutting, coloring or styling. It has served as the first element of gender expression experimentation for many, and carries a long sense of identity within its presentation. Even though hair, just like clothing, cannot be gendered, there have been some hairstyles that overtime, have gained the connotation of a gender norm rebellion (the queer undercut perhaps?), due to its striking difference to societal’s expectation of girls with long hair and boys with a crew cut. Find out more about hair and its relationship to our identities here.