Humans have always collectively adapted and evolved in different eras of technological and industrial changes. Lifestyle, design, fashion, and product changes being a derivative of these evolvements is what continues to pave a trajectory for continuous development and evolution. Focusing on how we wonderfully developed from merely nothing to what we now call the vintage era is generative of the human conscience and birth of inspirations.

There’s no single reason why this change happened the way it did.
When differently-abled and inspired minds collectively operate in a society, it gives birth to new ideas, styles, idealistic, and artistic approaches. In other words, our ability to interact with each other creative senses led to modern designs, inventions, and innovations.

The glamour and advertisements shift in the 1950s with the association to pop art led to innovations, which further led us to retro art. Engineers, architects, artists, painters, and every creative entity grew inspired, learned, and evolved. This evolvement birthed the classification of retro, primarily inspired by vintage in many aspects and the elixir of pop.
However, consistent evolution didn’t put a full stop at retro. It kept getting better, somewhat complicated, and led to the Contemporary styles that exist today.

The varying paradigm shift in terms of infrastructure, fashion, product, services, media, and tech has led to innovations that completely changed the overall outlook of development, design processes, and more importantly consumption.

This freedom of expression instilled broadness and openness to the people’s minds and consequently resulted in the simultaneous existence of vintage, retro, retro-vintage, and modern trends. Similarly, as designs dated back to the 70s and 80s were vintage and historically inspired; overcoats, popping retro art on billboards, loose pants, hats, old homes started to have a touch of modernity.

Elements of modern design from these eras show vagueness and limitations but interpret modernity. This infrastructure of contemporary design is well-inspired and is attributable to multiple ages without a pin-point focus on a particular period, but focuses on the references should not be lost.

Change in customer behavior driven by technological and industrial developments remains a continuous trend, but due to the lack of means and awareness in previous eras, consumption of latest trends a was attributable to passionate and financially abled households. We can rightly assume that the customer choice in the retro era was more subjective, thoughtful, and intentional. On the contrary, modern-day consumers are now more than ever equipped with different mediums that lead to the pursuant of new lifestyles, trends, and consumption habits, but the observable question is when a new change will come into effect. 

 

The struggle to break the typical stereotypes that define and cage the two genders separately when it comes to Fashion has been on for some time now, but the real wonder is if it had always been present, is here to stay, or just a borrowed generational trend. 

 Renowned fashion brands began to adopt this strategy and started exploring outside the binary box due to the modern-day movements like gender neutrality and gender fluidity that gained an impressive from 2017 till present day, and with the much-necessitated gender equality movement, the clothing pattern and fashion mentality began to adapt to modern times. The world had accepted and continued to allow the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, but more than before, and Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro acceptance.

The recent transition in attitudes of people away from constricted thinking has been observed and is now being implemented to the plethora of forms and identities on the spectrum of gender; the odd thought pattern defining pink for women and blue for men or trousers for men and skirts for women were all conquered in era-defining ways in the 1900s and could be interpreted as a movement towards genderless Fashion, but the bigger wall may have been shattered.

So, is genderless Fashion a new thing? Has it always been? Affirmative on both arguments. Here’s why:

 Gender nonconformity

Humans have been judgmental in the past when it came to defining gender, but this thinking changed due to gender variance and started being more noticeable when individuals started desegregating themselves from pure male or female gender norms and begun to come out without permission from social cultures and standards. In the era when gender questions became to rise, and when the identity broke free from the binary constrictions, people who considered themselves agender and or transgender used to have a hard time deciding what to wear because of the social clauses inhibiting their fashion choices. The solution came about with gender-neutral clothes allowing individuals to take pride in their representation and their fashion choices. Decisions that we all might consider difficult, especially in an era when the moral and social constructs of the majority revolted against such actions. However, you still had people challenging these views and caring less about the consequences.

 

Fashion Industry Adaptation

With the sublimity in the thought pattern of the recent generation, the big and renowned fashion brands started to remove the tags from clothes like “for men” or “for women” only. And lo and behold, they introduced a new way defined as “for all” clothes. Men can wear pink dresses, or even skirts and women can opt for any clothes that they love to wear.  The fashion shows showcasing their latest designs stopped the limiting one gender ramp walk. Now women appear in men clothing walking confidently and as gracefully as a swan. Men walk in pink and skirts without raising eyebrows. If this had been the case a few years back, the idea of mixing both gender clothes on the runway could have been viewed as insane and bold but not anymore. It is now the norm. Pop culture known to historically perpetuate androgyny has been a reflector of the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, and now, Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro and micro acceptance.

 

A slew of designers challenged this notion before now, offering a secluded place in the fashion industry for individuals who had finally found themselves and were the real pioneers of the questioning of gender; from those that didn’t see themselves on either end of the gender binary or those who already subverted and ignored traditional gender norms. Designers such as Rick Owens pioneered a genderless view of Fashion from the early start of his notability. In an interview with Refinery29, Rick emphasis on the misconception that gender expansion started with the millennials. “I don’t understand why this generation thinks they invented gender fluidity. They did it harder, stronger, and louder in the ’70s and 16th-century Japan.” Other designers like Yohji Yamamoto also held gender fluidity as an attachment to their creative process, and continue to do so till this day. 

 

Celebrity support

It can be argued that the first pioneers or “exhibitors” off gender fluidity and the genderless fashion movement were celebrities- specifically rock and roll, punk, pop and a few of others subverted genders. In more recent times, due to social media, virality and all its derivatives, celebrities, and public figures started supporting the movement by wearing genderless clothes on important international events. One of such new-generation pioneers like Jaden Smith, who wore a skirt for a 2016 Louis Vuitton campaign. He is considered as the spearhead of the movement, but then you’ve had fashion icons like Jared Leto, Ruby Rose, Lady Gaga and the likes always challenging this norm and Tilda Swinton being known to be the queen of androgyny. From trend set by renowned artists, the general public has quickly followed this and recently started to adopt some sort of androgyny to their style. Even mainstream genders have appreciated the step and adapted to genderless Fashion.  We can argue that genderless Fashion has been a celebrity identity mold in the 1900s, especially by musical icons that partially fused their dress sense to be a little bit on the other side, stars like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Elton John are the known pioneers of this, but not in the manner in which it is being distributed as mainstream and societally acceptable opposed to the reverence that it had back in the day.

 

In-conclusion: 

Yes, we do agree that gender fluidity and expression started in an era earlier than now, but as a statement, a differentiator, and more glaringly then than now. While having fashion choices that differ from gender norms is seen now as a fashion statement, It was considered a revolt against the social cultures that were more stringent then than now. 

The lighter side

On a general level, you don’t have to worry about tricky questions like “what to wear” or “what to match” your blue denim. We oblige you to wear anything you love, take a chance, hire a stylist :), join in on the movement because really no one but you should care! The world is abandoning the rigidity of gender structures, menswear, womenswear, and gender stereotypes, and we see gender being a thing of the past and people identifying as whatever they deem fit. Wearing a skirt, identifying with your own curated gender or your sexuality shouldn’t dictate how you should be addressed or viewed by society. We are finally able to witness an age when the only opinion that matters is yours and more importantly, your choice. So, wear what you love and live the way you want to, judgment-free zone here! 

Art, a silent medium to express one’s thoughts, emotions, ideas, and a unique perspective of life, is a genuine desire to discover and admire the intrinsic aspect of a personal point of view. It doesn’t have to be appealing but must be deep and meaningful, or so you thought. This short paragraph should raise questions. Is there ever lousy art? Who determines good art? If art is subjective, are you sure you like the well-known artists you admire or are you just a bandwagon passenger? How does one differentiate? Yes, questions.

We subjectively experience life; our expressions, emotions, light, and objects are all little stories in the humongous vastness and epochs of Universe. Humans experience intense emotional upheavals, and art can instill some of it in us. It is volatile in terms of perceiving, and the more curious the viewer of art is the more realms of imagination art open for him. Art makes us look at things from a different angle. It reconstructs the conceptions of reality to make life an intuitive experience for us. Consider art to be just blobs of dried paint or random lines fantasizing the artist views. It has always been a conflict between the mind and heart when grasping the concept of art. The connoisseur depicts smorgasbord of ideas and innovation through his art, making it sagacious and subjective. 

Is art really subjective?
The matter of subjectivity of art when dissected, make us realize that it is all about individuality, and everyone has a different thought process and a unique way of comprehending things. For instance, let there be a crowd observing an effortless painting drawn by an unknown artist. The men in the group will view and perceive the picture differently than women. The young will have a different set of thought going through their mind at the time of observing the art than the old. Aged people have sapience, have faced a lot of hardships, and have survived the ups and downs of the rollercoaster of life. Hence, the “wisdom” increasing age unfolds is colossal. The old will reflect upon the painting through the views they grew up on, dreams they achieved and desires they could not fulfill. So, what can we squeeze out of this example? It’s the personal point of view, life experience, and the minimal knowledge of intricacies of art that creates diverse opinions among the crowd. 

At the most initial, the artist creates something and leaves the observer the ability to judge, criticize, and analyze. At the current point of an artist’s career, with no notability, little achievements, and endless hurdles to face, what makes them worthy enough to be regarded for their art? What can segregate them from the rest of the lot?
We might like to argue that art itself does most of the job- it inspires people and makes them fell in love with the art and with little or no effort given to the name or the reputation of the artist, and a connoisseurs hype might with a slight chance influence the biased behavior in the future of the career of an artist. But even if the artist has garnered a lot of hype and built up a reputation for themselves, It is still up to the lens of the observer. Surrealism, when introduced to dull minds, was considered as trash and a great disaster but was gradually accepted as the artist’s wild imagination and a playing field for the observer to admire and interpret art based on their own thinking.
 
The valuation of art is a nebulous process, and it sometimes makes you wonder when it became imperative to “price art.” Should art even be priced? For this growing complexity in the art world, the establishment of art museums, art galleries, art evaluation centers, and critics engaging with each other on defining the real good art played and continues to play a crucial part. Often, the work of an artist might not be as impressive as the artist announces or claims, and since art itself -however good or bad – is the subject of the observer, an invigoration of interest built prior to viewing the art might be as a result of superfluous claims.

Its sincerely true that good art is subjective, but it is also not wrong to think that the connoisseur’s hype matters. The observers choice reigns supreme at the end of the day. Do you think the art you saw was good because you felt connected to its charm? Or was your opinion on the art being exemplary based on your unconscious subscription to the hype bandwagon?