When Will Smith told his fearless son Jaden Smith that he couldn’t wear a skirt, despite his intentions for challenging traditionally gendered clothing, it made it clear that society is still stuck on old fashioned gender concepts and struggling with the idea of fluidity.
But as more people reject stereotypes and embrace their own sense of personal style, new designers are putting their two cents in and launching gender neutral lines. Let’s take a look at some of the progressive designers at the forefront of this movement.
Rad Hourani’s signature label is all about embracing gender neutrality and continues to break new ground in the world of genderless couture. The Canadian raised designer recently debuted his latest unisex collection in the Middle East, where fashion is conservative and revolves around culture, but he found himself an opportunity to showcase his minimalist, A-line garments in Dubai, as his clientele expands to include Arab customers. Although responses from the runway show were mixed, Hourani is proving to be a leader in global unisex fashion.
His designs are often portrayed as genderless, with labels like DRKSHDW by Rick Owens as shown on Lyst using similar silhouettes for both men and women. Dark brutalism is the concept often seen in his collections, frequently using black fabrics and elongated drapey cuts in his grunge-like clothing. As for his shows, he often has his female models unadorned, and one time had the male models in full geisha makeup, further breaking down the gender divide in beauty and fashion.
Tilly deWolfe and Tom Barranca
These two began as friends and then became business partners when they launched their brand in 2009. Barranca identifies as male and deWolfe as female, with both of them being cisgender and gay, so together they came up with a platform that would give others the freedom to choose how clothes are worn, rejecting the gender binary and restriction to create an identity outside of biology. The silhouettes they’ve invented conform to the wearer’s body, regardless of his or her form. Another impressive characteristic of their clothes is the fluidity of the shape, which can be adjusted to the wearer’s mood. “A shirt can become a dress can become a cape, a convention that is also commentary on fashion’s power to transform us into who we choose to be,” explains Rose Domu, style writer for the online publication Mic
There are many other designers, from the early 80s, who have opted to produce their collections in a gender-less fashion, and hey, if Braveheart can wear a skirt – so can I !