Features

The Gender-Fluid Fashion Movement

Courtesy of Lumilla

The trend shaping street style trend today and tomorrow

One exciting trend that is hitting fashion capitals around the world is a greater open-mindedness to what can be worn and by whom. While 2020 proved to be a tough year globally, it did create new norms on many levels when it comes to fashion. City dressers have used the past year’s change in work and personal routines to re-define wardrobes and evolve their style.

As the world came to a halt and people were confined at home, urbanites re-thought their wardrobes and moved away from old ways of dressing that didn’t suit them. We are now seeing more examples of people of all genders breaking convention and having a voice through what they wear.

Unstructured and comfortable but sexy, gender-neutral looks, which are not bound to rigid form, are now trending, and I predict these will continue to evolve in 2021. This has been brought on by people’s self-reflection and a desire to express themselves. Acceptance, inclusivity and openness for change are the true gifts for fashion in 2021. This year will all be about reinvention in many ways.

One example of fashion shifting forward is the evolution of the gender-fluid movement. This has been led by nongendered collection launches from well-known fashion designers, such as Marc Jacobs, and new looks worn by Harry Styles, who has become this trend’s poster child. Fashion media have also played their part in creating credible buzz around this move, which is moving away from a masculine-feminine divide to more inclusive dressing by celebrities.

In response, we are already seeing gender-neutral companies launch in cities globally, as well as online, on-binary retail spaces offering designer products. Zara is a great example of a cost-effective brand that has its finger on this evolving trend, alongside Adidas and Browns East, which have launched gender-neutral concepts and collections.

This fashion shift has been on its way for a long time, but it has picked up momentum and become mainstream at a time when people’s minds were open to it. To launch it simply to be different would have been a miss, as the timing had to be right for androgynous style to become mainstream.

Traditional men’s and women’s dressing will never go away completely, but we will start to see more examples of how showrooms, catwalks and new fashion brands incorporate more inclusive shapes and sexually-liberating options.

For anyone who wants to stray from conventional norms and trial this look, you don’t have to be dramatic with it or over the top. Here are some ways to dip your toe into a more unisex style:

For men or male-identifying individuals, try a feminine look through tailoring, soft color palettes and rings, bracelets and other jewelry. Challenge yourself with binary-breaking design, and accessorize with a versatile, cross-body bag.

For women or female-identifying individuals, loosen things up with oversized shirts, blazers and suits that have masculine tailoring. You can accessorize with bowties and masculine watches. For a polished look, throw on a sweater vest.

Lulu Eschelman is the founder and CEO of Lumilla. Reach her at ljeschelman@gmail.com.

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