Fashion has long played with gender boundaries. This is especially important for queer people. For them it is a way of expressing their identity, feeling a part of community and enjoying their appearance.

A growth in gender-nonconforming fashion started Rachel Tutera. “A clothier to the LGBTQ community,” as she described herself, she began to share her tomboy style by making bespoke suits for women. “I got used to wearing clothes that hid me,” she said. “Having this suit made for me basically reintroduced me to my body. I think people see me in a way that may actually align with how I see myself.” Consequently, gender-neutral outfits entrenched themselves as a mainstream. Today many designers create collection with no regard to sex.

 

Support for LGBTQ

Designer Sky Cubacub, for instance, fully accept the notion that clothes should help express personality and be a support for LGBTQ community`s members. He created a  Rebirth Garments line of lingerie for non-binary people, clothing for queer people with disabilities and most remarkably – a chain mail, intendedto, literally, comfort its owner. “It involves opening and closing thousands of little rings,” he said. “I had panic attacks and lots of anxiety, so the medium really calmed me and helped me organize my brain. I think of it as emotional armor, but it’s also actual armor. It protects me physically, but it also makes me feel emotionally safe, like I can talk to folks. I think that all queer folks need some sort of armor for themselves to live in the world as gender warriors.”

Laura and Kelly Moffatt syggested another way of comforting queer people. They felt the lack of suitable clothing and agony of search on their own skin. “A lot of tomboys gravitate toward menswear clothes, but menswear isn’t fit for people who have a bust or hips,” says Laura. While searching for suit for their wedding, the two brides faced a great challenge. “You can find a million dresses, but there’s not a lot of options if you’re looking for men’s style. Not having the ability to portray yourself in a way that gives you internal confidence that you can exude externally is a problem.” As a result, ladies launched a company called Kirrin Finch selling seemingly male clothes, but cut for women’s bodies. “What our customers do today is cobble together outfits from various places,” says Kelly. “We want to offer the one-stop shop for somebody on the tomboy side.”

 

Changing perception

Apart from LGBTQ community, some people are also seeking unisexwear. As Eleanor Robinson, Even Selfridges` buying manager, puts it, “women buying into menswear is a growing trend. There is also a female customer interested in a more masculine aesthetic and seeking out a true menswear fit – so a real ‘boyfriend’ jean, shirt or sweater.” One can observe it in collections of Hood By Air, Trapstar, Acne, APC or Bazar-14. “The idea of men’s clothes on women and vice versa, and then garments that are mid-space,” as Louis Terline, the cofounder of Oak, names it, seems to be a vectr for future collections.

London designer Sara Weston agrees with that and tries to “challenge the gender dynamic.” For her, society puts a lot of pressure “to subscribe to gender norms as dictating identity and mainstream fashion.” Thus, she created a line of gender-neutral fashion expanding initially a menswear brand Weston to Eastie Empire. It seems, that unisex dressing has its cultural aspect. The notion of what is masculine and feminine is changing. “Body types and identity types are more fluid than fashion has ever discussed,” says Terline. “It’s coming from this place of a broader diversity in general.”

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