By Carlos Mendoza
Milan Fashion Week brought the clothing industry a new state of mind, and it was all thanks to Gucci’s spring summer 2016 collection. The suave pussy-bow tie chiffon and crepe shirts, followed by floral prints and vibrant lace button-up shirts graced the catwalk. Bell-bottom trousers appeared on the show with frail waif-like male models, which strutted confidently in clothes that are traditionally worn by women.
Just as Gucci made a statement last fall winter 2015 season, head designer Alessandro Michele is back with another 70’s themed collection that is testing the barriers of gender and clothing.
The reality is that fashion designers has always been on the brink of breaking down the wall of gender-specific clothing and incorporate gender neutral clothing in their collections and campaigns. Public School, a New York City based clothing brand, is well known for being gender neutral. Their spring summer 2015 collection displayed over-sized trousers tailored for men on women. The models featured in the show closely coordinated with the design by possessing androgynous looks to match the outfits.
Niki Snyder a freelance designer and recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise has had some of her pieces created and sold by the brand Betabrand. This modern minimalistic designer with a taste for textiles, believes that gender neutral clothing is a re-occurring fashion trend.
“Gender neutral clothes have always been around,” Snyder said. “We just never noticed it until now because of the times we are living in.”
The politics of gender, sexuality and orientation is on panel for discussion more frequently in comparison to other years according to Snyder.
Fashion and style, according to Snyder, should also reflect the times, and that clothes are all about comfortability.
“When I design something I don’t see it as a woman’s piece, or men’s, but rather unisex because depending on the person and their confidence they can pull off any type of clothing,” Snyder said.
Styling probably is one of the most important factors when it comes to the fashion world, according to Robert Finch a stylist/ fashion photographer.
“Style is everything,” Finch said. “You either have it or you don’t and every single item counts no matter if it comes from the woman’s department or men’s.”
Style according to Finch is iconography and can represent who you are as a person. When he style’s models or clients he doesn’t eliminate any options.
“I can style a woman and I will put on her a men’s white button up shirt because it is simple, chic and the way it fits a woman’s body is absolutely stunning,” Finch said. “For a man it can be as easy as an over-sized women’s coat throw it over the shoulders and he would look just as fabulous.”
Models also play a role in this transformation, according to Finch. There is a trend amongst models where their look is androgynous which provides a new sex appeal.
“Before there was models that looked strictly like men and women,” Finch said. “Now androgyny is in and people are getting in touch with their feminine and masculine sides.”
Finch admires this new look, because it provides a sense of eroticism and mystery to everyone.
A fad or a trend, but many people believe that this style might be around to stay for quite some time.
“I love everything about it and I know people are going to buy into this fashion trend,” Snyder said.