Fashion moving towards gender-fluid creations

Fashion moving towards gender-fluid creations

Bollywood A-listers often break stereotypes. Designers say the trend is picking up but its longevity is not assured

photo credit @jimsarbhforreal

Karan Johar recently posted a picture of him wearing heels with suit. Many appreciated him for this “bold” picture as they think it gives lessons on gender-fluid dressing. Previously, actors Jim Sarbh and Ayushmann Khurrana were seen donning gender-fluid dressing and breaking away from the stereotypical menswear. In fact, Ranveer Singh is known to lean towards gender-fluid fashion statements.

But is this trend widely accepted by Indian men or is it just a popular runway look? Metrolife explores.

Rohit Rajput, designer, stylist and runway choreographer says, that the Indian fashion industry has witnessed fluid fashion on runway shows several times, especially after section 377 was read down.

“Many of our designers were instrumental in bringing about this change in the Indian fashion scene. It has helped one break out of the clothing norms and give a more customised definition to their fashion statement,” he says.

Currently, India has five clothing labels that curate gender-fluid outfits; some are ‘The Pot Plant by Sanya Suri and Resham Karmchandani’, ‘Bobo Calcutta by Ayushman Mitra’ and ‘Chola by Sohaya Mishra’.

Rohit is often seen sporting his signature look – a long avant garde jacket, high waist pants, kaftans and quirky prints. He defines gender-fluid fashion as, ‘creating a line of clothing or adapting a fashion trend that is inclusive of all genders, where no fabric, print or sillhouette is bound to be termed specific to any particular gender’.

“With a shift from rigidity to acceptance of gender-fluid clothing in the local market, I hope Indian designers take this trend forward and break more norms,” says Rohit.

Talking about Karan Johar’s latest look, designer Kunal Anil Tanna says, if someone has a way to express the design sensibilty that they believe in, they must go ahead and should not just sport it to follow the bandwagon.

“Karan Johar is known to be someone who is fashion forward; he is always updated on what’s “in”. And he is someone who professes it very strongly,” he says, adding, “I think education has evolved a lot of us, in terms of accepting different kinds of thought processes; gender fashion fluidity is a progressive way of thinking.”

This open-mindedness, he says has become a part of our lives. “Gender-fluid fashion has entered our country, which is otherwise supposed to be conservative or orthodox,” he adds.

Gender neutral fashion vs Gender-fluid fashion

The two terminologies might not necessarily be the same. While gender neutral fashion is more to do with unisex form of clothing, gender-fluid leans more towards androgyny, where one picks from both (men and women’s) wardrobes.

“We have Scottish men wearing kilts – which is part of their culture. Closer home, Indian men wears dhotis which are like nauvari sari of Maharashtra. Gender-fluid fashion has always been a part of the culture; it is just today that people have started classifying things according to gender,” observes Kunal.

Men in India have becoming more open to experimenting with their trends lately. While, it seems unlikely that gender-fluid fashion would become mainstream, elements of it, such as floral embroidery or print will always be present.

Men’s fashion is traditionally more structured, but today a lot of these silhouettes have changed and loosened up. Men are now adding gender-fluid elements like uneven hemlines and drapes as part of their suits, sherwanis and kurtas.

Menswear designer Morley Patel, feels gender-fluid fashion is not yet popular in India. It is Karan Johar’s celeb status that has garnered the attention.

What has influenced men’s fashion over the years?

Earlier men were rigid with their blacks and whites but now they are experimenting with colours like royal blue, red, mustard and green. “The one person who can pretty much carry anything and everything is Ranveer Singh but a lot of people, now have realised that colours do accentuate the look and feel of what they wear. Men are also looking at incorporating these colours in their footwear, watches or eye wear,” observes Morley.

Gender-fluid fashion is still seen as a “trend” in India and only a handful of celebs are seen sporting them at various red carpet events. But does this mean men in India would welcome this trend?

“It will be welcomed as the trend is picking up, especially, with Karan Johar and other influencers sporting it. Having said that this trend is momentary and will have its era,” says Morley.


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