The Effect of the LGBT Community on Fashion: Genderless Clothes and a Growing Number of Metrosexual Men

 

We can’t deny the influence sub-cultures make to fashion.  Fashion designers always find inspiration in communities, members of which are connected by the same ideas, lifestyle and, of course, clothing.  Since the early 1960s’  fashion trends were highly affected by hippies (also known as “The Beat Generation” or “spiritual seekers”, whose main value was human freedom). They brought to us both floral and psychedelic designs together with maxi skirts and hats.  A decade later, when the American street culture reached the peak of its popularity, bomber jackets, tracksuits, sportswear –all of it became the “must have” items in fashion lovers’ wardrobes.   It also happened 1990’s, when the fame of rock band Nirvana spread in every part of the world and the militants’ grunge took over other styles in the showcases.

Nowadays, the significant impact on the way people dress up is made by the LGBT community. Clothing brands such as “Not equal”,” H&M”, “No DNA”  offer the line of clothing with neutral patterns and designs, suitable both for men and women.   Stores like “John Lewis” or “Selfridges” in London and go  “gender-neutral” as well, by removing “Boys” and “Girls” labels.  At same time, celebrities, such as Kanye West wear skirts while performing and style idols like Rihanna aren’t  afraid to wear manly oversized suits even to formal dinners.

Young stylist Zoe Hawkins, who’s been working as a stylist for more than 10 years, explains the reasons of the growing trend: “Due to the expanding legalization of gay/lesbian/bisexual relationships around the world, designers seek to break the stereotypes and give everyone a chance to wear what they want, with no fear of being accused in inappropriate look.   Men” and “Women” signs in stores label people, not clothes and it’s not how it supposed to be. Every person is unique, but we are one community, so why do we need to separate ourselves in two different ones?”.  She also claims that in the past years, the number of people who prefer to wear unisex clothes has increased among her clients. They say clothes with no gender labels make them feel more comfortable, as they are not forced to consider themselves as male/female, but simply as a person.

Not to mention, another trend the LGBT community brought to fashion is the metrosexual man (a kind of men, who put efforts into the appearance). Zoe, as a stylist, has noticed the sudden increase of their number as well in the past years.  Beth Goodrham – another professional in the fashion industry – has noticed the sudden increase of metrosexual males in the past few years too. According to her, she has never received as many requests from metrosexual people as she does now. She suggests, that the reason behind it is that being part of the LGBT community isn’t considered as something extraordinary anymore. People have freedom in expressing themselves in any way they want:. “…those men, who were refused to put hairspray on  and wear skinny trousers with a reason a fear of being ashamed, finally got freedom”.

E. Rusteikis is bisexual man from Amsterdam, who expresses his personality in outfits. He likes to wear skinny leather trousers, combined with a range of different accessories. He has faced a lot of problems because of his appearance He says: “ When I realised that I can fall in love with both man and women, as the only thing that matters is personality, not a gender.  I decided to express myself in clothing. There were cases, when people used to stop by me and ask where I’m from, am I going to any kind of themed party and etc.  At first, I found it quite offensive, but with the time, number of people like that kept on decreasing and now I can’t remember when was the last time it happened. I think people really became more tolerant to us and it’s not a myth”.

Taking all this in account, it looks like  that we are getting to the point when the word  “gender” becomes meaningless.   The LGBT community breaks all the stereotypes and brings a new “inhale” into the fashion industry. Will it last for a long time? Who knows.  However, in a comparison with previous fashion trends, this one has the most significant effect, which doesn’t seem to end  in the near future.

Laura Jurgel

 

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