As gender neutrality is gaining voice and global support in every possible sphere, the world of fashion is welcoming the dialogue not only in terms of gender-free wearable objects but also how we understand and acknowledge everything that finds space outside gender. American actor and singer Ezra Miller who first came out as queer in 2012 stated that his gender identity as “fluid” in an interview with a renowned fashion magazine. The actor’s recent foray into more straight-off-the-runway looks, bolder makeup and the integration of womenswear into his wardrobe has received much attention.
Miller won hearts as a with his debut release, Afterschool in 2008 and recently he managed to turn heads with his interesting looks on the Fantastic Beasts II press tour. He garnered headlines addressing gender-neutral fashion, gender-fluid looks, gender-neutral clothing in response to Miller’s two couture womenswear looks during the recent Fantastic Beasts premieres.
The star who is making news again with his Playboy cover shoot held recently took the gender-neutral fashion conversation to a different level. He represented a gender-neutral Playboy bunny sporting sheer, lace, glossy nightgowns, sharp heels, suit jackets and especially the red hue on his lips that made us think how easy it is to embrace all forms of identity without judgment, bias and misinformed agitation. The Fantastic Beasts star spoke his heart out on his understanding of pain, pleasure, sex, polyamory, abuse in Hollywood why he is much more than anything that puts him in a box.
During the cover shoot interview with Playboy, he said, “I’m trying to find queer beings who understand me as a queer being off the bat, and I feel like I’m married to them 25 lifetimes ago.” As commentators, publications and aspirants in fashion love the new message Miller is sharing with the world, it leads us to some important questions, that is, are we really ready to embrace gender-neutrality not only as self-practice but, also as something that we are comfortable with on others.
Sporting womenswear for a man isn’t something new in fashion but the discussion around gender-fluidity that Miller was evoke is definitely carrying more tolerance and subjectivity on the matter. The shoot has also been addressed as a significant moment in pop culture as far as menswear style is concerned. As many brands have been trying to make and promote gender-free garments, most of them fail to understand that gender-free is not only about clothing that fits both men and women but it’s also about being who you are in whatever you want to wear.
Mostly, when an established norm is challenged, the focus in on one personality but what is interesting to observe is how the masses are reacting to Miller’s photoshoot. It involves less banter and more approval.
It’s high time that we not only understand the underlying treads of gender neutrality accepting the fading lines between the traditional notions of male and female dressing amidst the changing cultural, social and political landscape as per individualistic style, body type, colour and aesthetic choices. It needs a lot more than just an understanding of clothing, silhouettes and patterns. It requires getting in someone else’s shoes and understanding their definition of freedom, identity and spirit.
First Published: Nov 21, 2018 16:55 IST