EAST LANSING, Michigan — Men and women’s fashion has had distinguishable characteristics according to how one separates between genders.
Men’s fashion has been known to have more masculine characteristics — structured bottoms and tops. Women’s fashion has a more feminine touch with loose fitting pieces that emphasize a female approach.
Androgynous fashion is clothing that can be worn by both men and women.
Recently, fashion has been blurring the lines between what is considered “gender specific.”
The Spartan Newsroom interviewed an individual who has opinions about what gender fluidity actually means to them and what is to come of androgynous fashion:
What do you do at MSU?
REBECCA SCHUILING: I am an Academic Specialist in the Apparel and Textile Design program, within the Art, Art History, and Design Department. I teach Fashion Illustration, Fashion Collection Building, and Knitwear Design.
How would you describe androgynous fashion?
REBECCA SCHUILING: Clothing is semiotics. It is a way to communicate who we are. To me, androgynous fashion means freedom to choose what you want to wear and how you want to present yourself.
How has it changed throughout time?
REBECCA SCHUILING: Historically, in Western society, hosiery was worn by aristocratic men, as were heels. Men’s fashions became much more uniform (jacket, pant, shirt) in the 19th century. Certain items of clothing were then deemed “feminine”, skirts, hosiery etc.
Do you support gender bending fashion? Why or why not?
REBECCA SCHUILING: Absolutely. I think it’s very important that we think critically about dress, and question why one group would be “allowed” to wear something, while another group is not. Hopefully we are moving as a society to a greater spirit of diversity and inclusion.
Do you have favorite designers or pieces that stand out to you when you think of androgynous fashion?
REBECCA SCHUILING: Just to name a few, Thom Brown has a recent interesting collection. Versace did an interesting collection that focused on the huge athletic wear trend – it had leggings for men. Obviously there are hundreds and hundreds of designers focusing on androgyny or inter-gender. In popular culture, there are other icons of style David Bowie, Grace Jones. Movies, such as Annie Hall. Fashion revolutions- the Peacock Revolution, Space Age Designers- Andre Courreges. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, etc.
What do you think the future for androgynous fashion is?
REBECCA SCHUILING: As far as the future goes, I think we will continue to see a lot with the athleisure/comfort clothing movement. With that, I think there will be a lot of development in tech fabrics etc., and within that I think there will be a lot of gender neutrality/unisex/inter- gender clothing.