From Jaden Smith’s skirt sporting Louis Vuitton advertising campaign, to Ungendered, Zara‘s unisex clothing line, a blur in the definitions of genders has become apparent in fashion, reflecting its current trend in mainstream media. I Am Jazz is a reality show on TLC about trans woman Jazz Jennings. MTV’s Faking It discusses the stigma around bisexuality and features an intersex character.
These both are focused on a younger target audience, but so is fashion. However, you don’t need to be a rosy cheeked newly grad to recognize that culture and thus, fashion, is shifting. In fact, the two most groundbreaking designers of the season, Barragán and Gogo Graham, have been noticed for the past few seasons for their genderless approach to clothing.
Barragán brought us a show where gender was a moot point. Androgynous couldn’t even describe it as the label’s latest collection had no gender binary. Pieces gave seemingly masculine models more girlish figures, everybody had Kahlo brows, and everything was a mix of tough and alluring in a way that wasn’t male or female, just awe inducing.
Collaborator and set designer for the show Rubin Gutierrez said on Barragán’s gender-bending ways:
“We don’t think of clothes from a gendered standpoint, and that makes it easy to cast genderless models. We think of it from a neutral standpoint, mixing masculine materials and feminine materials. As a generation we have come a long way to accepting non-binary genders. For us, it seems pretty natural.”
As for Gogo Graham, gender is important in the sense that the line is about and for trans women. Instead of using them as muses, an issue she has spoken on before, the line consider comes from a more personal place and considers what a trans woman has been through. Some of the tops were sheer or super busty to instill confidence in a body part that can be difficult for many of these women to develop when they transition, especially if finances are an issue.
The cast of models were all trans women, and they were allowed to pose however they wanted in their sections. Even her location of the show, behind a jewelry shop in SoHo, made it clear this was not an attention seeking effort, but a personal collection for a community and market she knew was lacking due attention. Though it featured only trans women, the cast was anything but alike. Diversity ranged in age, body type, and race.
These shows both stepped out of the fashion norm and made the statements they needed to say without trying to be the new “radical.” In this way Barragán and Gogo Graham are leading the pack of up-and-coming designers and artists who are bringing people’s lives and identities to the mainstream and helping to validate the beautiful and powerful people that exist all across the spectrum of gender.
-Article by Cassandra Gagnon for The Untitled Magazine.