Rise of the Genderqueer Model

Gabriella Peñuela.

Gabriella Peñuela.

…those who identify as genderqueer say their moment appears to be finally coming. And perhaps no other industry is putting genderqueer into focus as much as the fashion business, with models such as Dove becoming increasingly common on the runways of fashion capitals and the pages of glossy magazines.

“Fashion reflects the culture that it’s part of, it’s one of its most important jobs,” says Wayne Sterling, a fashion industry trend spotter who is co-founder of Models.com and mentor to Dove. “I’m not going to be naïve and say we’ve woken up in a wonderful new era of tolerance and understanding. But there are 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds who are processing the experience and saying, ‘I have nothing to be ashamed of. The issue is not with me, the issue is with society and its limitations.’”

“The genderless phenomenon has been building up its reach for quite a while now,” says Angelo Flaccavento, a fashion critic and contributor to The Business of Fashion, in an email. “Think of the cult-like growth of a brand like Rick Owens, which has been at the forefront of the phenomenon, or the rise of Jonathan Anderson. Both these designers generated followers, admirers and copycats.”

“Their number is sufficiently big to make 2015 the year of the genderless,” he adds.

Genderqueer models can play an important role in this cultural shift, says Jo B. Paoletti, associate professor in American Studies at the University of Maryland, where she specializes in fashion and gender. “Civil rights are won when they have a human face. For the general public to see that sex is non-binary, and that sexuality and gender occupy a continuum (and may shift over a person’s lifetime), they need to understand it on a personal, not theoretical level.”

Full Article Here. They get bonus points for explaining the difference between gender identity and gender expression.


Leave a Reply