He said “I don’t care if it was made for women” – what is gender and gender fluidity in fashion?

for MIRCHI KOMACHI blog on gender and gender fluidity in fashion, in and outside India - an image of a man in stockings, short pants, and pumps
One thing I started thinking about seriously after The Lil Flea this time is to make items for ‘biological’ men. Though not so soon. Not really for ‘gender fluidity’, but MIRCHI KOMACHI-ish items for men’s body without considering man-like or woman-like.
MIRCHI KOMACHI is now making clothes for biological women. But MIRCHI KOMACHI’s future vision is to liberate the fashion and life of Indian women (not only biological women). If more men start dressing out of the stereotype, it’s equally awesome since it would contribute to make the world a happier place for all the genders.
I’d like to consider about ‘gender’ in fashion with you this time.

Well, male readers. Have you ever felt like trying on pumps, skirts, or sarees?
It was only modern Western culture who decided pants are for men and skirts are for women. The norm was spread by colonisation. Till then, there were many more parts of the world where traditionally men wore skirt-like clothes or the difference between men’s and women’s clothes was very little. So, it’s a fairly new norm inculcated by a certain culture.
Dressing beyond the gender boundary has been explored by women. It’s been decades since women assimilated men’s items like pants, blazers, military wear etc. It was first criticised, but was soon accepted by a lot of women and has become ‘normal’. It is about time for men to start doing that. But it’s been a slower move. When men wear women’s clothes (not as a joke or disguise), people would say ‘gross’ and use all these discriminatory words. I think men becoming ‘not men’ is a danger for the society built for men based on men’s masculinity (the society includes women who are too much used to see things through men’s eyes), and that’s making the move a lot slower to become ‘normal’.

for MIRCHI KOMACHI blog on gender and gender fluid - a man in skirt

But recently, we see the phrases ‘gender fluidity’ ‘gender neutrality’ quite often on the internet, don’t we? Variety of genders have been recognised, and various minorities in some parts of the world started expressing themselves in public, and as a result, fashion was inspired. It’s exposed by fashion designers, artists, actors, TV celebs, Youtubers, etc etc. Now designers are using skirts or tutu in ‘men’s’ line, using male models for ‘ladies’ line, mixing men’s and women’s lines in one show. There are some popular male stars who dress 'like women’. In the street as well, I see boys in ‘gender fluid’ fashion. Boys apply make-up to look beautiful or wear women's clothes because they suit their ‘mood’. Sexuality is a separate matter and you can’t judge from their fashion.
What about in India? The number is yet very little, but I see some guys in social media wearing sarees in various ways. Ranveer Singh wears skirts in public. Two men bought MIRCHI KOMACHI jackets just because they wanted to wear, being fully aware that people easily see they’re women’s jackets.
I think their free and supple attitude to wear what they want, giving zero f*** to what people say, is really really cool.


Self-identity is always there, but our ‘mood’ and occasions are fluid every day. Then our fashion can be also fluid. Why always follow one type? Maybe our assumption like ‘clothes for so-and-so gender’ is actually fine to die out.
Boundaries. I think we still have many unnecessary boundaries for everything – fashion, genders, races, countries – in our mind.

 

(brilliant photos by Brian Henry Thompson in Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

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