How the fashion system defied gender boundaries

The thrill of tearing down boundaries and the energy of rethinking the definition of gender through a personal style prompted us, Blowhammers, to research the fashion journey and its revolution. 

Is it possible to redefine the customs of sexual categories?

 

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What does the new era of fashion stand for?

Since our birth, the message is clear: girls only wear pink and boys blue; girls use skirts, boys pants. Clichés and stereotypes are prevalent in our society: the expression "who wears the pants" highlights the gender disparity and the power kept by the male one.

The beginning of the revolution in the fashion world coincides with the 10s of the last century, when Gabrielle Chanel designed trousers for women, revolutionizing the concept of androgynous fashion.

 

Later, in the 1930s, fashion introduced the trouser suit, and this ambition for changes continued to grow in the following decades.

For men's fashion, however, compared to the women's one, it didn't experience tremendous changes until the end of the 1960s. These are the years of the Peacock Revolution, a countercultural movement that inspired the young David Bowie and other artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger or Prince.

The "peacock revolution" sees men and women wearing bright and colourful fabrics inspired by street style, introduced by the Beatles with the collarless jacket, slim fit trousers and heeled boots. They quickly became fashionable and on-trend garments.

 

In recent years, the boundaries of gender identities are finally softening, defying obsolete and boring conformism rules expressing toxic masculinity.

 

The 70s and 80s offer unisex clothing: bell bottoms, coloured tunics and shirts: an interchangeable style between sexes. We mentioned earlier the notorious Rock Stars as the first to challenge the conformist society by wearing skinny jeans and ruffled shirts. They have also motivated countless men to show off their earrings, eyeliner, nail polishes and long hair.

 

The 1970 album cover The Man Who Sold The World, featuring David Bowie wearing a floral dress by Michael Fish, made history by breaking the rules like never before in the music system.

Fashion and the persistent fight against gender stereotypes

Nowadays, men's apparel has crossed women transgressive designs, especially rejecting the excessive masculine identities.

Gucci has consciously chosen to overcome the male-female dichotomy in clothing and change direction.

The moment happens in 2016, when Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, rejects the idea of ​​separate and gendered collections and decides to combine men's and women's fashion shows.

 

 

One of the protagonists of this global deconstruction is Harry Styles.

He represented the gender-fluidity style on the cover of Vogue US in the December 2020 issue, wearing a beautiful Gucci jump dress. He is also the first man to appear on the cover of a popular fashion magazine.

But before him, there were: Jaden Smith, Young Thug, Bad Bunny. Just to name a few, who pushed the boundaries of the genre using fashion.

 

Fashion can freely embrace gender fluidity. Our research took us back in time giving us a chance to study innovative characters, unlikely to accept impositions from a conformist society and reconsidering the way of styling themselves!

At Blowhammer this perspective is not just about the fashion system, but about society rules in general, which is too often imposed. The real revolution is being yourself. Always.

 

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