The runways confidently walked by women adorned with bedazzled beards sporting boxy suits and men with long wavy hair draped in dresses. This year’s Paris Fashion Week did not shy away from the centuries old obsessions with androgynous dressing. A dress for a man who isn’t Scottish?
Why, yes says Kanye – the self-proclaimed fashion icon – forever asserting his place at the forefront of modernity – who’s daughter has a trans grandfather. Since 1919 when women’s rights activist, Luisa Capetillo was arrested in Puerto Rico for wearing pants in public, gender-blending clothing became a symbol of freedom and independence. As society’s gender roles and definitions continue to blur, we witness law-makers scrambling to catch up; it wasn’t until 2012 that The Royal Canadian Mounted Police allowed their female officers to wear pants and boots, and in 2013 Turkey finally lifted a ban against female lawmakers wearing pants in assembly, as their male counterparts always have.
As usual, fashion has its finger strongly on the pulse of popular culture; even the Gap has carried “boyfriend jeans” for years. The latest trend in the mainstreamiization of the equality of the sexes is witnessed in the promotion of gender-neutral clothing for adults. A new Toronto-based clothing store “Future Is the Future” does not distinguish between men’s and women’s clothing selections, stating simply, “Anything can be worn by anyone…Clothing aisles don’t decide who you are. That’s your job.”
As Grace Jones, Kathryn Hepburn, David Bowie, Carrie Bradshaw, and Bugs Bunny have all proven; we are whoever we want to be when we have the right clothes.
Hopefully, with the rise of androgynous fashion on the runway, I’ll never have to give my boyfriend his jeans back.