Is Pop Culture The Biggest Catalyst For The Rise Of Androgynous Fashion?

Androgynous fashion is not a 21st-century concept. A pleated skirt belongs in a man’s wardrobe as much as it belongs in a woman’s wardrobe. Pinks and purples look as good on men as they do on women. While the concept is clear as day, pop culture is normalising it, making it a rule, rather than an exception, one Instagram drop at a time!

Making a strong case for genderless fashion in recent times is Justin Bieber in his music video Peaches. He is seen in a peach suit from cult LA-based luxury brand Richfresh. The pop singer paired his tonal fit with a tank top in lieu of a crisp shirt, a neckpiece from Drew House (his unisex clothing line), a headband and the classic Nike Air Force 1 low sneaker. Simple yet striking, the look bends gender norms and normalises genderless fashion like never before.

Androgynous fashion
Justin Bieber in Peaches music video

Tracing pop culture history, the earliest contribution to genderless fashion can be safely owed to the sensational Elvis Presley in the 1950s. He cleaned up nice in pegged and flared pants, penny loafers and draped jackets. Around two decades later, when Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger made an appearance on the stage in a ‘man’s dress’ designed by Michael Fish, a British fashion designer, the concept turned into a revolution.

L-R: Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger in the iconic ‘man’s dress’ and Elvis Presley

Fast forward to many years later, and androgynous fashion has found a resurgence of sorts. The most spellbound and dramatic entrance being that of Harry Styles. And oh my god, did he not make literally everyone’s jaw drop? From the Gucci jumpsuit embellished with daytime sequins to a bespoke silk moire suit with peplum detailing by British-American designer Harris Reed in Lights Up, Styles took the world by storm with his gender-fluid sensibilities.

Harry Styles in Lights Up music video

And let’s not forget Sam Smith in their breath-taking music video for How Do You Sleep? The singer aced a sheer shirt layered over a black tank top, and the next thing we know is that they’re suddenly the torchbearer of gender-fluid aesthetic. Smith flaunted their signature black high-heels, which, quite honestly, is a beautiful sight to watch. If nothing, pop culture has been a platform for established and emerging individuals to take the centre stage and profess who they really are. And if this is the output, we’re so here for it.

Sam Smith

Another striking addition to the roster is Dan Levy, famously recognised as David Rose of Schitt’s Creek, who showed men how to wear skirts. In the finale of the cult favourite web series, David was seen in a skirt suit by Thom Browne at his own wedding. While this may not be proof of the unwritten rules surrounding fashion getting entirely scraped, the fact that pop culture is contributing to the change is enough.

Androgynous Fashion
David Rose in Schitt’s Creek

They say every action has a reaction. And it couldn’t be more true speaking of the correlation between pop culture and genderless fashion. At Coachella, American actor of Pursuit Of Happiness fame, Jaden Smith was seen in a floral tunic and a dense headgear with red roses. Oscar De La Renta once said, “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself,” a saying that holds true for men and women adopting fashion that’s more fluid and speaks to them. And a major catalyst of making these choices has to be the pivotal role played by pop culture.

Jaden Smith at Coachella

From movies, songs to real-time events, pop culture has paved the way for people to own up to who they really are without being apologetic. Pop culture has normalised what once came as a shock for many. And while it’s just a drop in the ocean for change, the industry is at least going in the right direction, and that’s exactly what was needed to fill the void.

Photographs: Instagram

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