For someone interested in fashion, there is nothing more exciting than imagining and planning their future wardrobe based on emerging fashion show trends. There is nothing more maddening than feeling put off by clothes that have caught your eye because, for some reason, you find they are not right for you.
As a publisher, it’s frustrating to have witnessed season after season of designers refusing to recognize people of different body types, abilities, ethnicities, racial backgrounds and genders on the catwalk. It makes you want to turn away from an industry that seems to reflect inconsistency through its values. But more than that, it makes you want to talk. Especially for marginalized communities who see certain brands as inaccessible or prohibited, not only because of who wears or does not wear the clothes on the catwalk, but also on a basic level, because of the way a collection is labeled (and that’s what we see first!).
“No color, fabric or fit is exclusive to the genre.”
Even before show attendees hear the muffled music and see the lights go out before a presentation, setting the mood, they’re greeted with notes in their seats that can do one of two things: talk to anything. the world or define the customer very precisely. Likewise, before I know what look I’m going to see from a fashion house when I click on a press release, I often see two different links: “download women’s clothing” or “download men’s clothing”. This alone excludes an entire population of people who do not identify as female or male, and it also speaks to the archaic idea that gender identity should influence dress preference. Words alone are so powerful, and they can be so conflicting.
For this reason, I always come back to Stoney Michelli Love’s mission statement for Stuzo Clothing and admire all the time: “Our pieces are genderless as we prefer to call them because clothes have no organs. the last time we checked. ” It aligns with the perspective and purpose of Chromat creator Becca McCharen-Tran. Becca has released a full line of trans, non-binary and queer swimsuits for Spring / Summer 2022, telling me, “Clothing is inherently gender neutral because it’s just things… It is important for people to realize that no color or fabric or fit is gender exclusive. ”
Of course, the cast comes into play. Who wears these clothes when they are presented to us for the very first time? Fashion Spot’s New York Fashion Week diversity report for the season shows transgender and non-binary model appearances made up 2.4% of castings for spring / summer 2022. The total number was 30, seen on catwalks such as The Blonds, Prabal Gurung, Collina Strada, Moschino, Batsheva, Gabriela Hearst, Jonathan Simkhai and Chromat, of course, which also featured a drag queen and an intersex model. That’s an increase from NYFW’s six transgender or non-binary models in fall 2021, but it’s still disheartening when you consider the fact that the European shows that follow tend to be the same. less inclusive historically.
Ultimately, designers are going to win if they show how a skirt – or any garment – can be worn by anyone, instead of just one specific type of person, changing narrow definitions of the kind that we saw on the trail. Upcoming labels are taking this simple idea and approaching design through a gender-neutral lens, so I’m here to celebrate them. We need to bring visibility to brands that look beyond the binary in order to expand representation in the future.