STYLED IN GENDER-FLUID FASHION: HARRY STYLES

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All over the world, November 19 is celebrated as International Men’s Day to celebrate the men in our life. Their contribution in many walks of life is looked at and appreciated on this very day.

When we talk about men, many stereotypical characteristics are associated that have become universal in nature. Certain type of clothes and particular colour are needed for a man to be considered ‘manly’ enough to live upto this stereotype. If not, then he will be shunned by society and criticized for the same.

However, with the evolving times, definitions of masculinity are also changing. Gone are the days when jeans and a shirt or a suit and tie is seen as the perfect outfit for a man. Androgynous and non-conforming looks are going viral where men are seen dressed in feminine clothing.

One such instance has created the right kind of buzz today.

In the year of seismic change at many levels, the Singer, Musician, Songwriter, Actor, comic and Fashionista- Harry Styles becomes US VOGUE’S 1st SOLO MALE COVER in its 127 years of history.

When we talk about androgynous artists, we probably think of South Korean artists like BTS, who have charmed their global fans with their unique sense of style. But in the west, we are seeing pop singer Harry Styles who is shattering stereotypes when it comes to men’s fashion.

The former One Direction member has graced the cover of Vogue magazine for the upcoming December issue where he expresses his sense of style. The singer is wearing a custom-made Gucci frill gown with a jacket for the cover.

Speaking to Vogue, Harry said that he loved playing dress up and has been interested in it since childhood. Growing up in Britain, Harry had seen pop icons like David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, John Elton who experimented with their looks and faded the boundaries of gender-based fashion.

The 26-year-old songwriter says he does not feel crazy if he puts on something that feels really flamboyant. Finding that perfect outfit is like finding a superhero outfit for Harry. It’s 2020 and gender fluidity is gradually becoming the norm. For Harry, clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. The Dunkirk actor said that when we stop thinking that there’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women and remove any barriers, we are opening up the arena in which we can play.

He further revealed that he would go in shops sometimes, and just find himself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they are amazing. For Harry, putting up barriers in life is equal to limiting oneself.

While that was a big deal in itself, it was the outfits that caught the internet’s fancy. Styles was seen donning beautiful dresses and the photos went viral.

They were shared extensively all across the social media platforms. It is human nature to be taken aback when something comes unusual or different comes to their attention.

Many were just not enthused by this idea. An author named Candace Owens posted her scathing two cents on this photoshoot surprise that the internet was left divided over the photoshoot.

In the end, she said, “Bring back manly men.” This did not go in her favour. A majority of netizens all over the world came out in Styles’ support.

Some of them dressed up in female clothing to prove their point and wholeheartedly stand with him.

“Clothes have no gender,” one user said. Another one reiterated, “Our clothes do not define our masculinity.

The internet also lauded them for showing the world what they truly were comfortable in. “You do you, Styles,” this was the common response many had for the photos.

The immense support Harry Styles got for the Vogue photoshoot is an interesting topic to dwell on International Men’s’ Day. For many now, ‘manly’ is not just restricted to being macho and wearing clothes that they feel most comfortable in. Therefore, with the internet rallying behind Styles and his eccentric fashion choices, there is hope in the world about the fact that anyone can be themselves and be happy with it.

By- Janvi Nagada (MSc. in Textile and Fashion Technology)