“Tome clothing is a form of self-expression, there are hints about who you are inwhat you wear”. Quoted my Marc Jacobs (Hutchings, 2017). It is believed thatwhat you choose to wear reveals part of your personality and character to thosearound you, depending on how you feel about yourself you can portray this onthe outside. “A wardrobe full of baggy, shapeless clothes might belong to awoman who is embarrassed about her body for example or a 50 year old whoinsists on wearing youthful clothing could be clinging on to the past.
” (Baumgartner,2017). This suggests that clothing can reveal inside emotions to the viewer,however this can be a positive and a negative as you might have an idea of howyou would like to be seen although you end up revealing the opposite, “showingoff so much flesh and tottering on stilettos does not come from a place ofpower but of vulnerability. It’s a plea for approval by someone who thinkstheir greatest asset is to attract men.” (Baumgartner, 2017). Cultural roles within society can affect howyou dress, resolving in the creation of an image that you might not wish to beassociated with.
Itcan also be seen that clothing can limit ability to do daily tasks and socialduties. In the 19th century woman were made to wear tight corsets and hugedresses with full skirts to emphasise silhouette and shape of the hips andwaist. Despite this era of fashion being completely unpractical anduncomfortable it also created this idea that woman were restricted, emotionallyin the sense that they had to portray the desired shape to please man but alsophysically as they struggled to fulfil their role within society, “womenstarted to adopt the crinoline, a huge bell-shaped skirt that made it virtuallyimpossible to clean a grate or sweep the stairs without tumbling over.”(Hughes, 2017). Men however had a muchmore sensible style that was comfortable for the working environment, tailoredtrousers, shirt and coat that was fitted to their natural shape.
This allowed men to dominate in the workingfield as they were much freer to physically move and do hard labour. Men andwoman were seen as opposites at this time and lived in separate spheres whichultimately structured their fashion as they both had two very different roleswithin society.(Hughes,2017) Masculinefashion for woman started to develop around the time of the Second World War aswoman were needed to help with the war effort, however long dresses and full skirtswere no longer practical. Design becamemore functional at this time as it became acceptable for woman to wear trousershowever designer, Coco Channel expanded this clothing item to become a desiredpiece of fashion.
This challenged gender and design as masculine style could beadapted for women to become socially accepted. Women were no longer forced towear large skirts and tight corsets as roles within society started to change,they now had the freedom to make a choice to suit their own comfort. Althoughtrousers for women were increasingly becoming more fashionable and still istoday. Coco Channel soon became disheartened by her involvementin the development of the now essential item, “I came up with them bymodesty.
From this usage to it becominga fashion, having 70% of women wearing trousers at evening dinner is quite sad.”(Wonderland, 2017). (Wonderland, 2017) Asa baby, the gender determines the colour and theme that their clothes willcontain, a girl is showered with pink while boys are the opposite and aregifted with everything blue.
Howeverthis was not always the case as woman were once encouraged to do the opposite, “Therehas been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generallyaccepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is thatpink being a more decided and stronger colour is more suitable for the boy,while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl..”(Curtis, 2017). This suggests that from a young age boys and girls clothing ispicked out for them to wear by their parents based on what is sociallyacceptable within the majority of public opinions. Within the layout of the storestoday, advertising is designed to draw boys into one section and a girls into aseparate section, which suggests the idea that there is no in between, that girlsand boys cannot wear the same or similar clothing. The sigma that has developedover time is that girls should wear pink, fluffy, princess like styles ofclothing while boys have to wear blue, outdoorsy, geometric designs on theirclothing. As a baby this idea can reveal the gender of the child, however itcreates a stereotype that your gender dictates your role in society as childrenare moulded into cultural differences.
Asa child grows there becomes an expectation of male and female that links to thetype of career that is expected, there is a stigma that as children, boys shouldplay with toy cars outside, whilst girls should play with dolls inside. “TheInstitution of Engineering and Technology claims such stereotypes could beputting girls off engineering and technology” (BBC News, 2017) this suggests thatmarketing and advertising that specifies products to gender narrows the career path of the child growing up. Notonly are children’s clothes separated into different sections but so arechildren’s toys as products are labelled specifically for boys or for girls, howeversome stores are realising the impact of doing this, “Hamleys, the country’smost famous toy store, has abandoned its traditional separate floors for boysand girls after a campaign on Twitter accused it of operating “genderapartheid”. New signs in the store now state what type of toys are sold oneach floor, rather than suggesting who should play with them”. (Curtis, 2017). This strengthens the idea thatboys and girls are equal and have the right to purchase any toy within a storewhich creates a friendlier environment that ultimately leads to a happycustomer experience.
However some huge toy brands still create gender specifictoys, “Lego finds itself a key battleground in the debate about toys and genderstereotyping.” (BBC News, 2017). The well-known company designed a femaleequivalent to the building block toys that were originally designed for boys.They decided to design the exact same toy although instead of maintaining thevariety in colours of the blocks, it became pink only. This caused outrage asthe bright pink blocks became a gender related object, this then furtherdeveloped as the Lego Friends toy was released in stores. The iconic Lego manfigure was no longer to be seen as the Lego friends for girls had miniaturedoll like figures with soft rubber edges and long hair, this suggests thatgirls must play with toys that are more softer designed that also highlight thecharacteristics of the desired female. This resembles nothing to do with theoriginal classic Lego design that all children, including girls should be allowedto play with.
(BBCNews, 2017). Although, some designers and organisations aretrying to change this idea that male and female have to remain opposites, thedevelopment of unisex garments and toys are increasingly becoming more popular.Stores that once separated boys and girls clothing into different sections arenow realising the benefit of no longer having gender specified areas, making aneasier way to shop for the consumer. “Therewill now be no separate sections in the stores, nor such binary labels on theclothes themselves; instead, the labels will read “girls and boys” or “boys andgirls”. (Saner, 2017).
The well-known brand took this refreshing outlook onchildren’s fashion to a new level as their designs became less restricting makinga much more enjoyable shop for the consumer. “We do not want to reinforcegender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want toprovide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent orchild can choose what they would like to wear.” (Saner, 2017). Being one of the first companies to do this, asnowball effect followed as other large organisations and companies are now alsofollowing this trend to create clothes that are not specific to gender,challenging the expectation of boys and girls within society. Furthermore,children are faced with gender specific issues as they enter into education andadapt to the mandatory uniform policy. Girls are expected to wear skirts andwith some schools being strict about length, it can be very restrictingespecially in the learning environment.
Boys are told to wear trousers whenthey might not feel comfortable to do so or have a desire to be different andmake a choice for themselves. “In this day and age it is inappropriate todesignate certain clothing items to one gender,” (Ferguson, 2017).Male and female should have equal rights to wear whatever they choose, withinreason. Schools are being more open to this idea of gender neutral uniformdesigns, “Why would we define our children by the clothes they wear? We stillhave the same uniform, we simply removed all references to gender in ouruniform policy,” (Ferguson, 2017) this allows children thefreedom to express themselves as they wish and gives them the choice to wearthe uniform that they feel comfortable in, not only this but it strengthens theequal chances for both boys and girls and suggests that their gender does notdefine who they are or who they aspire to become.
Designersand large fashion organisations are determined to blur the lines between maleand female fashion within the industry, combining them to create collectionssuitable for both genders. Rad Houani creates collections that challenge theaesthetic of neutralised fashion, “My visuals have erupted from this world of mine.They are genderless, ageless and limitless.
They come from no nation, no race,no religion, yet they could be home anywhere, anytime. They exclude the essenceof timeless style for anti-conformist individuals.” (Radhourani.
com,2017). Unisex fashion creates a style that fits all, no matter what shape, sizeor gender you are. Comme des garcons play collection includes a variety oft-shirt designs that have the simple heart shaped logo on the chest. Despitethe multiple choice in colours, the designs for both male and female areidentical, however consumers still feel obliged to purchase the desired productfrom the separate sections when shopping online despite the fact that thet-shirts look the exact same with the same fit and style for both genders. Thisis an issue within society, that men and woman have become adapted to the culturalopinions of opposite fashion, non-gendered designs break down this stereotypeand creates a new light for fashion. However could non gendered fashion have a negativeaffect long term? If everyone started dressing the same would there become alack in originality with no unique style that expressed inner emotions? This remainsto be seen.
(Radhourani.com, 2017). Inconclusion, Men and woman have always been considered opposite and as a resultof social and cultural roles, clothing became adapted for functional purposes. Overthe years the stereotype opinion that girls should wear pink and play withdolls and boys should wear blue and play with cars is a dangerous stigma thatlimits the chances of boys and girls being free to express themselves as theywish. Non garnered fashion is a refreshing outlook that rejects the norm andcreates a path that celebrates the equality of both male and female.