LGBT: gender boundaries


Gender boundaries are becoming increasingly flexible; females are channelling masculine influences while males also seek opportunity to expand their identity with more feminine qualities. As we enter the New Year, fashion walks hand in hand with understanding sexuality and style, confirming that strict gender should be becoming a thing of the past.

A role reversal in the conventions of society has lead to a dreamy ambiguity in fashion putting LGBT and feminist conversations at the heart of runway. We recognise the androgyny of woman as a past revelation that shuns shapeliness and feminine accents and celebrates masculine references – such as pinstripe trousers, looser and boxy silhouettes, high water hemlines and brogues.

However, the concept of ‘The New Man’ is a fairly contemporary one. From the emergence of the “Dandy”, the embodiment of androgynous beauty through David Bowie, Jean Paul Gaultiers man skirt and then the rise of the term “metrosexual”, masculinity is still in the process of being redefined. Through the appropriations of female fashion codes, contemporary menswear designs are being transformed with floral embellishments, handbags and off the shoulder silhouettes to name a few.

Beauty trends especially have seen an interchange in attitudes, with editorial spreads increasingly sporting short haired and barefaced woman and longhaired lean men with softer features. The inability to define the sexes is something that has been readinly incorporated by designers. JW Anderson, a pioneer in androgynous clothing stated that ‘”masculine” and “feminine” elements of fashion have become irrelevant’ with many other designers following suit by putting forth identical looks on both sexes.

We can readily appreciate how unisex clothing is becoming a larger trend, with individuals advertently buying clothing that puts their individual style and persona over the restrictions of their gender. Whether it’s masculine, feminine or something in-between…does it really matter?


Sarah Shaikh

Leave a Reply