Fluidity in Fashion and Gender
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Gender is not a black and white subject, but it is often treated like that in the fashion world. As time progresses, self-expression is less often limited to two sides (man and woman), but there is not a match in momentum in the clothing industry. When you walk into a clothing store, you are still greeted with labels and divisive factors like organization based on gender. It is not reflective of the work that we are doing to normalize gender as a spectrum. However, more efforts are being made to be more inclusive.
One effort that Movement Matters wants to make is taking away “men'' and “women” from our website. We will be replacing the options with “masculine” and “feminine.” Sometimes words like “man” and “woman” do not describe the look that we are trying to embody. Often, it limits our options, and furthermore it limits the view of our products. Just because a woman might typically buy a certain garment does not mean that men cannot wear it too. We are looking for ways to be less definitive in these circumstances, and more adaptable to meet the needs of every human being. We do not have to be one, or the other. We can all be in between.
What we are aiming to do is to ensure that everyone has a comfortable and welcoming experience. We believe that each garment should be described more so by its qualities rather than who gets to wear it. Oftentimes, men are purchasing from the women’s section at popular clothing stores. At places like H&M where many of the clothes share the same designs, buying a women's turtleneck can prove to be a better fit, and a better bargain for someone who identifies as a man.
Another example happened in the early 2010s when popular brands were reintroducing “The Boyfriend Jeans,” which essentially was a straight leg pant mimicking a men’s fit. Popular brands like Hollister and Aeropostale created whole campaigns about these jeans, when in reality, many of the styles were already offered on the other side of the store in the men’s section. We want our customers to buy whatever they like from whatever section, as long as it makes them happy. Instead of using gender as inspiration, Movement Matters invites their guests to dress according to their personality, which is different from person-to-person. We believe fashion should be as fluid as gender can be!
Even though the fashion industry at large seems to be behind on gender fluidity, there are still people manifesting it. For example, Harry Styles posed for the cover of Vogue in December 2020 in a dress. Styles and Vogue used their platforms to bring awareness to gender performance. Although he received backlash for wearing something too feminine, Styles ignored said comments and continues to be a fluid icon. He is quite often seen in floral print suits and feminine clothing such as boas and tulle. Styles reminds us that we can wear whatever we choose as long as it grants happiness!
This is not the first time that America has had an icon who bends the rules of gender. Idols
like Prince, who popularized wearing makeup and heels for performance, go down in history as some of fashion’s most influential people. As feminine as Prince was, accentuated with royal purple, glitter, and ruffles, women were still in awe of him! He wore clothing to match his electric personality, and that more often than not led to him wearing women’s clothing too.
Gender fluidity is a safe pass for everyone, not just masculine showing a more feminine side. On the other side of the spectrum, icons like Madonna are often found wearing a suit and tie to events, exuding a masculine energy that is sometimes off-putting to men. She exclaims that women are expected to always look “cute” and “sexy,” and when they act otherwise, it stirs the pot. Women have the power to be whoever they choose, and style themselves how they wish. It is not up to anyone but the individual to determine what section to visit for their clothing needs.
Fashion in the 21st century is fast, accessible, and produced at cheaper rates. Not assigning
gender to clothing and giving each guest more freedom of expression will definitely foster an inclusive environment. It eliminates the self-consciousness one may get while shopping in the women’s section as a man. Movement Matters cares about how each person feels beyond our site. We want to incorporate more inclusive ways of living into everyday life. Because of that, introducing “masculine” and “feminine” as our new clothing options is as necessary as it is exciting. We want to invite everyone to view gender as a sliding scale that is always subject to change. It is who you are and we are here to celebrate that.