This post is the beginning of a brand-new segment on my blog (very cleverly) called, “The Clothing Statement”, which features fashion trends that I believe make a statement or create heavy impact. For weeks now, my friend, Charlie Cao, and I have been planning this collaboration dedicated to gender neutral fashion. Charlie and I met two years ago while working together on a fashion show. I was a model and Charlie was a student designer and somewhere along the way, we naturally became friends. Together, we’ve generated a list of questions and answered them in a he said/she said manner that allows you to see two perspectives regarding gender neutral fashion. I’m so excited for you all to read our joint article and to see the wonderful pictures taken by the lovely, Kim Mao! I was stoked when I got a direct message from Kim asking if I would like to collaborate on a shoot with her (Kim, if you’re reading this, I’ve been such a big fan of your photography even before you messaged me!). Without further ado, let’s get into the article!
Q: What are you wearing in these photos?
Charlie: A gray mock-neck, over-sized T-shirt from Lands’ End, cropped, relaxed, ripped jeans that I got from China, long black socks from Timberland and Dr. Marten’s original low-top oxfords.
Hamy: I’m wearing a white, knit long-sleeve with metal detailed sleeves from Forever21, my navy-blue track trousers from Zara, a silver necklace that I made myself, and casual, white sneakers from H&M.
Q: In your own words, what is gender neutral fashion?
Charlie: I think that gender neutral is clothing that both men and women can wear. A lot of times we think about gender neutral fashion and we see guy clothes on girls, but I think that was more of an after-war style of gender neutral. Now that we’re in this period, guys can start wearing women’s clothes too.
Hamy: For me, gender neutral fashion should just be called clothes, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s clothing that doesn’t have ties to a specific gender and is androgynous, meaning anyone can wear it. There used to be trends like “menswear” and “boyfriend jeans” where women would wear clothing that were traditionally designed for men. But with gender neutral fashion, both men and women can wear the exact same thing without gender specific labels.
Q: Do you think gender neutral fashion is just a fad or will it become the future of fashion?
Charlie: I think it’s the future of fashion because starting in the 20th Century, the history of fashion has shown trends in women’s fashion aligning closer with men’s fashion and men are starting to wear make-up. There has always been a gender barrier and now, we are trying to overcome that progressively.
Hamy: Oh, it’s the future of fashion. We’ve come such a long way since women were not allowed to wear pants or show their undergarments. Nowadays women can wear whatever we want, even showing our lingerie. Gender neutral fashion makes a statement as it proclaims that men and women are not all that different. Men don’t come from Mars and women don’t come from Venus. People just come from Earth and we should be treated as equals.
Q: Why does gender neutral fashion make a “clothing statement”?
Charlie: From my point of view, it’s a way for specifically men to overcome their gender standards. Just because you’re wearing women’s clothing doesn’t make you less of a man. It’s important for men to break out from their masculinity box. It’s also important for women to overcome superficial gender standards.
Hamy: This trend makes a “clothing statement” because it shows that society is making improvements. We live in a world where women are told not to show their nipples and men are told they shouldn’t wear makeup. But through gender neutral fashion, women and men no longer must fit the mold of their gender stereotypes and societal standards. We’re beating the status quo by participating in gender neutral fashion.
Q: What are some trends in gender neutral fashion?
Charlie: I see more traditionally feminine elements, which is a good thing because it means women are getting away from just wearing men’s clothes. I see more curves now, gender neutral used to be a lot boxier.
Hamy: I see a lot of street-wear, athletic qualities, brand logos, loose-fitting jeans, sneakers, and a mixture of traditionally feminine and masculine elements.
Q: What do you think about men wearing makeup?
Charlie: I think guys should care about what they look like just as much as girls do because it would be fairer to women. If you don’t care about what you look like, why should girls? Wear makeup to make yourself look better. It shouldn’t be wrong, it shouldn’t make you look gay, it should just be normal.
Hamy: I think it’s weird how men are afraid that putting on makeup will make them less of a man. Does putting on makeup mean you’re automatically a woman? No. Does wearing boxer briefs mean you’re automatically a man? No. If you want to wear makeup, wear it. Makeup may be targeted for women in the market and media, but that doesn’t mean men can’t wear it. In some countries, wearing makeup is normal for both genders and I think America should catch onto this trend.
Q: Why do you think men and women are confined to wearing different clothes in the first place?
Charlie: Well, men and women traditionally had different roles in society. There are still gender roles present, but it’s gradually going away. If you hold women and men accountable for what they should be wearing, you are confining them. Scientifically proven, men and women are both capable of working, taking care of babies, being gentle, being caring, being soft, and that should be a good thing for both women and men to have. Gender confining clothing restricts people to certain roles and reinforces the idea that men and women are not created equal.
Hamy: I agree with Charlie. Men and women traditionally had different roles and expectations in society. Don’t you think it’s outrageous how women are almost expected to show up to social gatherings in tight-fitting dresses and high-heels while men are able to be comfortable in their modest suit and tie attire? It’s just what society has reflected upon us as the standards of fashion.
That’s a wrap on today’s blog post! I really hope you enjoyed this collaboration that I did with Charlie and Kim. We all had a lot of fun shooting these photos and writing this article together. It took weeks of planning and preparations, but I’m super satisfied with the results! Once again, thank you, Kim, for reaching out to me and shooting and editing these beautiful photos. And thank you, Charlie, for coming up with such a genius idea for our joint article and for collaborating with me. I hope that we’ll get to work together again soon!
Did you enjoy this article? Let me know what you thought in the comments!