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Men just want to throw some dresses on

by Sara Capanna February 2, 2016
Men just want to throw some dresses on

Jaden Smith is ushering in a new era of fashion where men wear skirts and mesh tanks

An important change is taking place in the world of fashion: the movement towards a more androgynous state. I for one am absolutely ecstatic that fashion is moving towards this new direction and how this androgyny is becoming more mainstream.

Graphic by Thom Bell.

Graphic by Thom Bell.

One of the conveyors of this change is none other than Jaden Smith, who recently became the new face of Louis Vuitton.

Posing in a stunning skirt and a mesh top alongside female models, the son of Will Smith makes a bold statement as the new face of a womenswear collection.

Smith, who has previously delved into acting and music, has become something of a social media phenomenon over the past year. He’s previously been photographed wearing skirts and has been blurring the lines of fashion and gender in the process.

Whether you care to admit it or not, fashion plays an integral role in society; for better or worse, that is for you to decide. Besides giving us a means to clothe ourselves, the fashion industry gives people an opportunity to express themselves daily.

However, fashion has also been used as a means to divide society, whether through class, wealth and most prominently, gender. It has been ingrained within us that women wear dresses and skirts that represent femininity, while men are confined to the traditional suit and tie that exemplifies the rigidity of a gender divided fashion industry.

This was the case until the later part of the 20th century. With the rise of third-wave feminism and queer theory, members of society have begun to realize just how rigid the gender construct is, and how the non-binary is just as valid an identity.

But what do others think of this change? I decided to talk to my fellow Concordians to see what they thought.

Creative writing student Danielle Eyer weighed in and said fashion was separating itself from gender.

“We say ‘dresses’ rather than women’s clothes, because it is perfectly acceptable for a person of any gender, meaning female, male, or someone not ascribing to the gender binary, to wear a dress or other traditionally ‘feminine’ clothes,” Eyer said.

“We are moving toward a world in which clothing has no gender, which absolutely has its rewards,” said.

Fellow English literature student Bronwyn Haney chimed in and agreed, but has her concerns about how this movement will be taken advantage of.

I worry that men will once again be able to use this as an exercise of privilege, as in by wearing something feminine and having no repercussions,” Haney said. “A woman is judged heavily on her appearance, dress size, choice of clothing, and it often leads to greater social issues.”

She also worries about its effect on trans people. “It will take away a sense of power given to trans women in being able to affirm their identity in the early stages of transition,” said Haney.

But she does think that this could be used to “protect trans women from abuse.”

Fashion channeled through clothing is a pivotal part of personal expression. If people—especially teenagers and young adults—are granted the freedom to wear what makes them feel most comfortable and in touch with themselves without scrutiny or judgment, I am positive it will do wonders for their self-esteem and image.

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