We are living in a decade that is gradually coming to terms with the idea of equality for the sexes, as is recently demonstrated via increased awareness of feminism and LGBTQ rights. Fashion is for the sexes – an obvious statement to make, but is it true?
For women, the fashion world is diverse. Androgyny and femininity are popular trends that resurrect on the catwalk year in and year out, to the point that they have even transcended into men’s fashion. Burberry’s latest collection at London Collections: Men, for instance, involved floral prints as well oversized tote bags. An array of fashion magazines debut the latest trends and offer their advice for their style-keen readers, the majority of which are targeted at women. Yes, there’s GQ, Esquire and even some fashion in FHM, but the shelves, in regards to fashion, are ultimately dominated by magazines aimed at and edited by women.
Moreover, if you were to name up to five fashion models, how many of them would be women? Would you know the likes of Andrej Pejic or Jon Kortajarena? If you do, we salute you! All this is not to say that you must know as many LGBTQ and male models as female models, or that women have no right to edit magazines with women as their prime readership or vice versa for men – that is far from the point. We love Lorraine Candy and Dylan Jones. What is being pointed out here is that, although fashion is about “style” (a sexless word), it appears to be tailored to women more than anyone else. We all know style, if anything, is not limited to one gender. Many of the world’s top fashion houses were founded and run by men such as Karl Largerfield and Alexander McQueen. Furthermore, it is surprising that only this year such strong feminine influences and design have descended into menswear. These designs have been doted brave and bold, yet surely if women, who for some years now, have experimented with androgynous looks, feminine menswear in today’s society should not be regarded as avant-garde?
And yet seemingly it is.
A similar situation occurs with the 17 transgender models, including Arin Andrews and Katie Hill, who were photographed for Barneys New York’s Spring/Summer ‘14 Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters campaign. It is an incredible and ground-breaking moment in the fashion world, raising awareness for LGBTQ rights. But one can’t help but wonder will there be a time when such models will be admired for their modelling and not because of their gender identity? Change is likely to occur depending on how aware, accepting and open minded we allow ourselves to be. By “we”, Venue means the important individuals of fashion: designers, editors, models, stylists, photographers, and even you – the reader, the consumer, the trend-setter. So is the fashion world ready for increased equality for sexes? You tell us, or better yet, tell everyone.