Many people think of fashion solely as arbitrary asthetic trends. Seasons of randomly changing looks and popular trends designed to appeal to those with style in mind. However fashion is much deeper. Just like movies and music, fashion is a reflection of society and a powerful social tool capable of shaping culture in many different ways. Here are 8 ways queer fashion and companies like Peau de Loup are changing the cultural landscape.
1. Creating a Stylish Revolution: While PDL’s business plan states they are making traditional Menswear to suit women, they in the process are also making a society originally designed for men, suit women. Tomboy fashion is founded out of feminist politics aka the radical notion that women can do anything that men can. Tomboy wears are about giving women suitable attire in which to do anything they want.
2. Is a Vehicle for Self expression: Our bodies are walking billboards. The clothing we choose to dress our bodies in send messages to the world about who we are and what we think. Don’t believe in social constructed ideas of gender. Don’t respect them in your wardrobe choices. Not only will people get the visual message but you’ll probably also spark a few conversations.
3. Is a Crystal Ball. If you want to know what the future holds look to fashion. Fashion has always been two steps ahead and provided a glimpse into what is to come socially and politically. The emergence of Tomboy style is telling us that how we understand and treat gender in society is changing and becoming much more fluid.
4. Inspires Confidence. We all know what it’s like to wear things that feel really our of character. We’ve all put on that excessive prom dress or school play costume and felt uncomfortable and foolish. For people of even slight non-binary gender expressions everyday can feel like this. Having clothing options that exist to suit varying gender expressions fosters confidence among wearers as well as self acceptance. This confidence creates transformative impacts on things like mental health, employment and relationships.
5. Is Fostering Self Love and Personal Fulfillment: Seeing possibility models of our selves in the world – reflections of who we feel we are ourselves increases our feelings of self love and decreases feelings of otherness. Think if you never met or saw a person in the media that looked you or was like you, you’d probably be left feeling really different or like a freak even. Seeing other people like us helps us feel normal and value our identities. For queer people living in an uber heteronormative society it’s also really important for us to have possibility models to be able to see what is possible for our future. How do we know what to strive for? What do our partnerships, weddings, families, old age look like if we have no examples to look to. Queer fashion is providing us with these opportunities.
6. Creating Economic Opportunities for Queer Peeps: The queer fashion industry is elevating the socio-economic status of queer people. As a marginalized community many individuals under the LGBTQ umbrella live under very impoverished condition due to widespread discrimination. Queer fashion provides many employment and economic opportunities for queer persons. The visibility the queer fashion industry creates is also increasing the status of Queer persons in society and helping to decrease discrimination across employment sectors at large.
7. Political Tool: We’ve all heard the saying “Be the change you wish to see”. The clothing we wear can be a visual form of protest, as well as a tool to create social awareness and acceptance.
8. Expands Notions of Beauty. We all know how problematic and unrepresentative mainstream ideas of beauty are. Queer design houses and brands are taking it upon themselves to use “real people” as models and paying special attention to incorporating a diversity of individuals across all axis of difference. By using models of all shapes, backgrounds, abilities, gender and sizes, the queer fashion industry is challenging the status quo and expanding what we consider beautiful.