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8 Jul

Fashion Redefining Masculinity

Fashion is constantly evolving, and new trends are always on the rise. A trend that has emerged in recent years and is continuing to grow is designers using fashion to blur the lines between masculinity and femininity by creating genderless designs. Designers are using fashion to destroy the idea that clothing has a gender. This results in the redefining of masculinity through fashion. 

For a long time, clothes were often gendered- skirts, dresses and crop tops have been designed for women and suits, and athletic gear have been for men. However, in recent years, a new generation has defied the societal standards of what masculinity is and is redefining masculinity. With this comes the evolution of men’s fashion as well. Designers have moved on from the traditional notion of masculinity and have moved towards being more experimental, challenging the confines of gendered clothing. Masculinity in fashion is evolving and taking a new meaning. 

The evolution of menswear has not happened overnight. It has been building up for years. Though, in recent years, it has carried less controversy. In 2020, the British pop musician Harry Styles was on the cover of US Vogue as the first-ever male cover star. However, what he wore on the cover, sparked a controversial and passionate conversation about masculinity and clothing. Styles was wearing a voluminous gown (what would traditionally be considered to be designed for women) with a tuxedo jacket (the traditional idea of masculine clothing). The image was embraced by people who identify as non-binary and their allies. However, some people had other opinions regarding Styles’ outfit and voiced their disapproval by stating that the outfit is not ‘manly’ and ‘undermines’ his masculinity. These comments prove how it has been believed that clothing plays a role in the definition of masculinity in society. 

The controversial conversation around Harry Styles’ Vouge cover outfit did not slow down the evolution of men’s fashion as it redefines what masculinity is. In 2022, the British Fashion Council announced that London Fashion Week would no longer separate menswear from womenswear. And designers such as Gauvar Gupta are creating genderless collections and working with stars like Jonathan Van Ness and Lil Nas X to challenge the boundaries of menswear. 

It is not just international stars that are challenging the boundaries of menswear, but there local figures who are doing it as well. Leago Scars (@leago_scars) is a South African content creator and creative who does not shy away from wearing skirts or crop tops and constantly challenging the boundaries of masculinity. More South African content creators and entertainers are using clothing to redefine masculinity, including creators like Kamohelo Pule (@Kamo.ww) and Banele Ndaba (@Moghelingz). 

Photo Credit: Nicholai Thomas (@itsnotnicholai) [@leago_scars for ToyToy)

With the direction men’s fashion is moving towards, it is clear that designers and society are slowly destroying the idea that clothing has a gender, making it more inclusive. It is exciting to see what the designers of men’s fashion will come up with next.

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