Girls in skirts and boys in trousers. This has been the strictly gendered story of school uniform since as far back as we remember however, the rules appear to be relaxing as 2016 has seen the introduction of the gender neutral uniform. This government funded uniform policy sees 40 primary and 40 secondary schools across Great Britain adopting gender neutral uniform options for their pupils and students, allowing girls to wear trousers and boys to wear skirts.
The original policy of boys’ uniform options and girls’ uniform options creates a problem for those who identify as transgender or gender neutral. This new decision allows all students to dress in the uniform they feel is most appropriate for their identity.
Gender neutral or androgynous clothing is by no means new within the fashion industry, with many high-end designers having spent years blurring the boundaries of conventional, gender conforming clothing.
Recent menswear collections show lighter, floatier fabrics, with soft details such as neckties and lace-up necklines. Gucci produced an ad campaign for their A/W 2015 collection which approached menswear in a very delicate and elegant way. Both men’s and womenswear collections produced by the fashion house included very similar silhouettes for Winter 15.
“I wanted to interpret an attitude not a silhouette. Through a perspective that blurs the masculine/feminine divide and champions the youthful energy and natural confidence of today’s urbanites.” Alessandro Michele, Gucci Creative Director
John Galliano’s second collection for Maison Margiela was filled with eccentricity and outlandish materials as expected. But the unconventional did not stop there, with three male models walking the runway for this A/W 2015 womenswear collection. This show is another example of the fashion industry’s growing inclination for gender fluidity.
The ‘godmother of Punk’ Vivienne Westwood has used the catwalk time and time again to voice her political views. Her A/W 2015 collection was dubbed ‘Unisex’, disregarding shapeless androgyny and cutting traditionally feminine shapes to the male body and vice versa.
The headline-inducing Louis Vuitton ad campaign for S/S 16 featuring Jaden Smith in womenswear highlights the ease in which the fashion industry welcomes unconventional gender dressing, aware that traditional roles are becoming outdated and it is time for a change.
Written by Cara Mulligan
Edited by Christina WrightReferences
Hall, J. (2016). Gender neutral school uniforms could revolutionise society. [online] Dazed. Available at: http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/31644/1/gender-neutral-uniforms-could-change-the-school-system [Accessed 26 Jun. 2016].
i_D, (2016). gucci reveal their androgynous autumn/winter campaign | read | i-D. [online] i-D. Available at: https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/gucci-reveal-their-androgynous-autumnwinter-campaign [Accessed 26 Jun. 2016].
Morley, K. (2016). Now boys can wear skirts to school – as new ‘gender neutral’ uniforms introduced. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/12/now-boys-can-wear-skirts-to-school—as-new-gender-neutral-unifo/ [Accessed 26 Jun. 2016].
Stansfield, T. (2015). Galliano makes an androgynous statement with boys in couture. [online] Dazed. Available at: http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/25392/1/galliano-makes-a-statement-for-androgyny-with-boys-in-margiela-couture [Accessed 26 Jun. 2016].