Gender Fluid FashionArt, Collaborations
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I’m sure you’ve all seen more than enough of the ever-so popular ‘Morning Routine’ video’s on YouTube, but let me outline a slightly more realistic one for you. It would go something like this: My alarm goes off at 7:30AM, prompting me to drag myself out of bed. I begrudgingly give in. I then walk to my closet and decide, “How much street harassment am I willing to put up with today?” This is usually a rhetorical question because I realize that regardless of how much I try to gravitate towards more ‘conventionally modest’ clothing, my body, as an African woman – curves and all – doesn’t conform to Eurocentric standards of modesty. There’s no winning.
As a woman (cis-gendered or not), it’s undeniable how much of your day is affected by your appearance. It’s true, the fashion and beauty industries have afforded us so much agency in how we construct our appearance, but let’s face it, even that agency is policed – primarily by oppressive gender constructs.
Let’s clear up a few things before I go any further: What I’m not saying is that wearing a skirt is oppressive. What I am saying is that the norms constructed around gender binaries are oppressive, in that they strip us of the ability to self-narrate our ever-evolving gender identities and expression. Let’s continue.
This becomes problematic because of the patriarchal relationship that society at large has with the female body. Deeply ingrained in our culture is that women’s bodies serve very little purpose besides male consumption. This notion not only strips women of their sexual agency, but also dehumanizes women based on their bodies.
With this shoot, we not only wanted to challenge the notion that personal style is inherently gendered, but I also wanted to step outside of the obsession that society has with putting everything in a box. Fashion can be such an important tool in freeing ourselves from social norms whether they be racial, gender-oriented etc … Once we step outside of these boxes, we open ourselves up to infinite possibilities in aesthetic expression, where everyone can simply be themselves. Is that really asking for much?
The conversation around gender has been a hot topic in fashion for years now, but has the industry been making any real changes to making fashion more inclusive? In a world where fashion fails to exist outside of heteronormative gender binaries, Anika Perkins is a breath of fresh air. Using texture, colour and shape, she is one of the pioneers redefining self-expression through personal style.
Check out Anika Perkin’s collection at www.anikaperkins.com, and check out her Amazing new activewear line at www.underlash.com 🙂
Thanks for reading!