What role does the fashion industry play in defining gender, and does it have a responsibility to provide gender-neutral options for those people who do not identify as male or female?
Those were two of the questions I was fussing over when I attended a recent fashion conference at Southampton Solent University.
“We are born male or female, but we’re taught to be a boy or a girl,” says Katie Atkinson, Senior Editor at WGSN and one of the speakers at the conference. It’s hard to deny that gender socialisation begins at birth and continues throughout life; pink or blue, princess or cowboy, flowers or footballs And, because what we wear and how we style ourselves are outward expressions of who we are, fashion plays a crucial role in both reflecting and shaping our personality and psychological state, even if it’s as subtle as deploying a tailored suit to boost your confidence in a male-centric environment or throwing on a pair of killer heels to mark the transition between ‘anonymous pedestrian’ and ‘queen of the night.’
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