Pendulum Wo(Man)-An androgyne fashion influence in the 21st century

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Fashion First

The pendulum wo(man) of fashion, is a expression I created that classifies a woman or a man that dresses freely, without the external identity set by a social norm of gender roles whom is distinguished by choice of style. Fashion cannot be described or restricted to one in particular. If you look for a synonym for the word “fashion, “ you will see related terms such as, behavior, personal manner, and even cultivate. Are you a fashion follower, a fashion leader, or just fashionable? There have been many rebels with a cause whether it’s inspired by music, art, or culture. The pendulum of fashion, in my opinion, resonates solely on the individual meaning of freedom. Freedom can be individuality, freedom of the mind, body, and soul, freedom from constraints of the world that places gender roles on what is expected of male and female. In this case does apparel consider gender for the woman or for the man. As we are in the 21st century, social influence still remains vital to the fashion industry.  But let’s take a step back into time and see that this extreme swing wasn’t just a trend rather influence from those individuals that expressed freedom through fashion from generations then and generations to come.

The male “mod”

     Let’s time travel to the late 1950s, a time where I did not exist, but modernist did, a subculture that originated in London, England and grew well into the early-to-mid 1960s (Childs, 2000). Color played a big role in defining the look. The muted and pastel palette of Fifties fashions gave way to bright, bold color often splayed in geometric patterns from daywear to the day glow in less than a decade (Rich, 2008). See how the swing can happen over a few years but in the fashion world only seem like change overnight. As we arrive in the early-to-mid-1960s, boutique clothing stores emerged as “the happening place to shop.” The 1960s ushered in an attitude of “anything goes and do your own thing (Fogg, 2003).”  This is a clear reference to individualizing apparel by way of personal manner. Female “mods” dressed androgynously, with short haircuts, men’s trousers or shirts (sometimes their boyfriend’s), flat shoes, and little makeup. As female mod fashion went from an underground style to a more commercialized fashion, with slender icon models like Twiggy which began to exemplify the high-fashion mod look (Temperley, 2000). I remember watching America’s Next Top Model, and immediately hearing the word, “tomboy” and “model” in the same sentence for description of Lesley Hornby, but immediately thinking was that her way of life or means for living?  The mod subculture eventually lost its vitality when it became commercialized and made artificial and stylized, to the point that new mod clothing styles were being manufactured “from above” by clothing companies and by TV shows (Baker, 2009). So we all know hippies were next in line from the mid-60s to arguably into the 1980s for the mock of culture. I still think hippies are “in” while maybe not trending, hippies are in for the long-haul. Remember, it’s a freedom of being, and how can that die, well unless one stops breathing of course.

    

     Moving right along into the 1980s to present day, and some of you reading this may faintly remember Boy George, if at all, but I can truly say singer-songwriter, Boy George placed the androgynous look in the fashion forefront with his fanciful make-up and his influential garb, adored by women. Now that we are in the 21st century, we have a word called, “metrosexual.” This word has absolutely no bearings on sexuality, however, appearance may make one judge otherwise. Metrosexual, was coined by Mark Simpson, in an article published in the Independent in 1994. Do you know what or who a metrosexual is? According to Simpson, a metrosexual is the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. The promotion of metrosexuality was left to the men’s style press, magazines such as The FaceGQEsquireArena and FHM, and the new media which took off in the Eighties and is still growing (GQ gains 10,000 new readers every month) (Simpson, 2006).  Guess you can say dandies reinvented, huh? Generations then, generations now, and generations yet to come will all have some significant influence because in the fashion industry-style has no gender.

     We all have influence on cultivating our society, we all must understand that there is no limit to freedom of expression unless one limits themselves from expressing. –Mekia Black

Fashion is fair game

MB

References:

Childs, Peter Modernism (Routledge, 2000). ISBN 0-415-19647-7. p. 17. Accessed on 2 March 2012.

The 60s: Mods and Hippies (20th Century Fashion) by Kitty Powe-Temperley, Heinemann Educational Books, 2000.

Boutique: A 60’s Cultural Phenomenon by Marnie Fogg, Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 2003.

Ernest B. (2009, January 11). Mod Squad [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://newbornrodeo.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/mod-squad/

Simpson, Mark (1994). “Here come the mirror men”. The Independent. Retrieved 2 March, 2012 from http://www.marksimpson.com/pages/journalism/mirror_men.html

Rich, Micheal (2008). Fifties fashion. Retrieved 2 March, 2012 from http://www.fiftiesweb.com/fashion/mod-fashion.htm

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Comments
  1. bradshaw12 says:

    This blog was really informative and different, I enjoyed reading it. One thing that stuck in my mind was the point you made about the definition of fashion. I agree with you because fashion does have so many different meanings, it all depends on the person that is interpreting it or wearing it.

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