Societal and economic changes have brought great fashion options in the past. The 1920s brought the rebellious Charleston silhouette after the long restrictive gowns of the previous century. In the 1950s, post World War II, it was the New Look by Dior after the several frugal years of fashion that were glum and dowdy. In the 1960s, fashion went the mini way. The Hippie culture brought the flower child and midi in the 1970s; while the 1980s paid attention to women empowerment with padded shoulders for jackets and dresses. The 1990s emphasised body-con silhouettes paying homage to the fitness trend.
So what was the most exciting happening in fashion during 2018? A flashback of the style scene in India reveals a new very appropriate but unconventional category that has emerged to dress a wider fashion audience.
Celebrating the verdict on Section 377 and paying a tribute to the LGBTQ community, the new transgender, gender neutral, category of fashion is very colourful, adventurous and has rapidly moved into top gear in 2018 as designers presented their offerings to the Agender dressers in India.
The Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 in October 2018 had 40 designers for its Rainbow Show Grand Finale. Earlier in the year the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018 and Winter/Festive 2018 seasons brought this genre of fashion into the limelight with an exclusive transgender show featuring four designers.
While there are more dedicated designer labels like Amaan, Chola, Antar Agni, Kallol Datta, Armaan Randhawa, Bloni, Bobo Calcutta and Two point Two who have pushed their genderless creations in an aggressive manner, brands like The Pot Plant have also realised the importance of this line of clothing.
No longer is fashion divided into HIS and HER clothes it’s more OUR fashion that has made a mark. Stores like Creo in Mumbai have promoted genderless fashion in an interesting manner. Fashion retailers have released that offering neutral category collections is a far safer selling strategy than being restricted to gender specific collections.
So designers like Anaam give a lot of leeway to their creativity when presenting garments so that buyers are able to make their individual fashion statements from a single piece of clothing. Whether male or female, the fluid silhouettes and drapes of most genderless clothes allow both sexes to fit in comfortably and hence allow them more options while dressing.
Chola’s wide flouncy skirts and oversized jackets/tunics are ideal, while Rimzim Dadu’s wired sari drapes look perfect on men and women.
This gender-neutral new fascinating era in 2018 started in fashion, offers clothes that are in varied categories that suit every buyer’s sartorial preferences.
Meher Castelino is one of India’s best known fashion journalists and commentators. Long before India was recognised as the home of style and beauty queens, Meher was crowned Miss India. Way, way back in 1964! She has also mentored many emerging divas, including a certain Aishwarya Rai. Meher writes in many Indian and international publications. For Xyngr, she stylegazes every Wednesday.