No matter where we buy from or what we wear, we are influenced by trends. These trends can come from anywhere – fashion designers, celebrities, art movements – but even if you don’t keep up to date with fashion forecasts, someone you are buying from does. A huge influence on fashion, potentially the biggest, is celebrity looks from red carpet events.
Celebrities have such a huge influence on what we consider ‘trendy’ and that can be used to challenge gendered fashion stereotypes. The rise of androgynous, genderless fashion has become more prevalent in recent years and is now commonplace on social media. But who is influencing us?
The resurgence of androgyny
Although androgynous fashion is not new the platform, it is being presented on is bigger than it has ever been. Before COVID took away huge awards and events, the red carpet was host to a variety of genderless fashion that challenged stereotypes for men and women alike.
Now, men wearing skirts and nail polish and women wearing suits and waistcoats is considered commonplace, even high fashion. This liminality between gender expresses the non-binary possibilities of clothing, opening pathways for style to develop and flourish.
The 2019 Golden Globes projected androgynous fashion, specifically through Cody Fern who was dressed by Nicola Formichetti, who wanted to use the red carpet as a stage to experiment with identity and push gendered wear in different directions. Fern wore a half sheer shirt, smoky eye make-up, and Tabi shoes (picture leather boots in the shape of a camel’s hoof).
Fern is one of many men branching out on the red carpet and showing how gender does not have to limit our choices of fashion. Others like Timothée Chalamet, Harry Styles, Kristen Stewart, and Helen Mirren are redefining what it means to be gender fluid through their clothing.
The idea of camp
Equally, the 2019 Met Gala challenged designers to create garments within the theme of ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’. Typically the idea of being camp involves flamboyance, feathers, and flares, but designers like Gucci have explored the theme by subverting gender stereotypes and showcasing gender-neutral outfits.
The blurred lines between gender norms in fashion and its projection on such a large platform paves the way for streetwear trends to be less binary.
The red carpet allows a playground for fashion, showing how gender shouldn’t constrict how we present ourselves. Androgyny means limitless opportunities and the endorsement for genderless fashion by brands and influencers is crucial for the wider market to provide for this audience.
Challenging gender publicly will inspire those who feel restricted by stereotypes, and hopefully give them the confidence to present their desired self through clothing.
Social media as an extension of the red carpet
The digitalisation of the world in the past year means that fashion trends and influences come from photoshoots and Instagram rather than events and premieres. Arguably, this solidifies the genderless fashion styles, showing that dressing how you want doesn’t have to be limited to special occasions.
Harry Styles’ 2020 British Vogue cover depicted him in a pale blue gown.
The image sparked social media trends, and debates, about genderfluidity. When a star as well-known as Harry Styles aligns themselves with gender-free fashion, it allows people to see it as a trend that is not unusual or uncommon. Both Tik-Tok and Instagram saw a huge flood of men wearing skirts to show support to the genderless fashion of Harry Styles and women wearing tuxedos and “femme boy” make-up rallied too.
These trends are an extension of the red carpet highlighting how fashion sews seeds and provokes social change. Ultimately, having such a large platform advocate androgyny means that those trends mentioned before will change how we view ourselves and what image we dress in.
So, how are we affected?
Remember those fashion trends and forecasts mentioned at the start? Well, they are constantly influenced by these androgynous fashion trends. High street fashion like sweater vests, high-waisted straight legs trousers, and pleated skirts are items straight off of the red carpet, albeit slightly subtler than what Gucci is offering. Men and women being able to wear them genderlessly offers a wealth of wardrobe opportunities.
Gendered fashion has limited us for too long and thanks to celebrities endorsing genderless garments, the progressive change is more prevalent than ever and easily accessible on the high street.