From a young age we are influenced by our surroundings and instantly put into a category by our biological sex. From the second we’re born, ‘It’s a girl/boy!’ leads us to believe we should follow in conventional gender footsteps. We are bought blue or pink toys, taught to believe dresses are for girls and trousers are for boys and that things like make-up are gender specific. No no. Things are really starting to change. We could argue all day long as to where the root of these gender codes originate from, but instead it is worth nothing how fashion in particular is starting to recognise we aren’t categorised into just ‘male’ and ‘female’.
Let’s start by talking about what non-binary really means.
Those who identify as non-binary often feel as though they have androgynous – both masculine and feminine – characteristics and gender identity. These characteristics usually associated strictly with ‘male’ and ‘female’ genders are becoming blurred while opening doors for gender expression. But what is non-binary fashion, and does it truly exist? Whether we use the term androgynous, gender neutral, genderless, unisex or non-binary, mainstream fashion is still very much tailoring for body shapes they believe fit the profile of what it means to be a man or woman, while non-binary acts as an inclusive fashion style without restrictions. Thankfully, here at GFW we’ve got your back and we recognise the struggle to find designs to suit shape, not sex. And this is why we offer three different body shapes across seven sizes per shirt design, as we tailor to bodies, not gender.
What is non-binary fashion all about?
Is it about the cut? The colour? The style? And don’t forget dapper.
The problem is, many people still associate certain styles and colours with specific genders, making it difficult to disassociate certain clothing with these gender codes. However, non-binary fashion has got this covered. Experimenting with cuts to cater for body shape over gender identity, those restrictions are taken away, allowing anyone to wear anything. Fancy a skirt today? Go for it. Suit jacket the next? Why not. Man, those boxers look comfy. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got between your legs because that’s not the focus here.
The idea of non-binary, androgynous, or gender-free clothing is to break away from previous gender conventions that are far too familiar in mainstream fashion. But that doesn’t mean non-binary means boring, hell no. Let’s crack out the colour, brave the bold and experiment with cuts to suit body shapes of all varieties. Non-binary fashion isn’t about baggy jumpers in fifty shades of ‘neutral’ grey and simplistic white t-shirts, it’s about blurring the lines of what we’ve known previously.
And dapper, you say? Well…
Just because fashion can target a rainbow of gender identities it doesn’t mean it’s all a one-way street of women wanting to wear clothes designed for ‘men’. Oh no. I prefer to buy jeans made for ‘men’ because apparently shops on the high street aimed at women are determined I carry everything in a handbag instead. The idea of being dapper isn’t to pigeonhole a gender into a particular style set, but to empower the unconventional, because unfortunately gender conventions still exist. Thankfully, queer fashion is rising against it.
Being dapper may relate most to ‘masculine’ presenting women, gender queers and trans-identified individuals, but what’s great about it is its flexibility. And it’s about time all fashion labels start to realise that the material on our back doesn’t file us into two boxes of ‘male’ and ‘female’, but instead opens up hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities to make fashion history based on style, not gender.
Check out our instagram account where we are inviting submissions from people around the world to showcase their interpretation of queer and non-binary style.
And join the discussion below.