Designer Calls on Fashion Industry to End Male/Female Clothing, De-Gender Beauty

OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Alok Vaid-Menon speaks during #BoFVOICES on November 22, 2019 in Oxfordshire, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion)
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

Alok Vaid-Menon attended the Business of Fashion’s annual “Voices” gathering  for so-called “big thinkers” in the industry where he called for an end of clothing designed for men or women.

In his remarks, Alok Vaid-Menon, who is a man, described as an artist and designer but who is also a homosexual activist, called out the fashion industry’s “regressive” gender stereotypes and said designers should “de-gender” beauty.

“Gender neutrality is not the death of fashion — it is the renaissance of fashion,” Vaid-Menon, who goes by Alok, said at the event held in January in the United Kingdom.

BOF reported on its own event, which highlighted “the beauty of transgender and non-binary people:”

In their impassioned address, Vaid-Menon revealed that they [sic] were once cut from a shoot by a major fashion publication after overhearing the photographer whisper to the editor, “Do you want the best photo, or do you want the politically correct photo?”

It is because of dealings like this that Vaid-Menon called for the industry at large to be held accountable for proliferating an archaic notion of beauty and what it means to be considered “high-fashion.”

Vaid-Menon encouraged companies to revise hiring structures and amplify trans and non-binary representation at a senior leadership level, stressing the need for a diverse range of genders, races, and sizes on runway shows and in campaigns — and “not just [in the] perfunctory Pride collections, which at this point are so unimaginative they feel positively homophobic.” He went on to say:

They [sic] also reminded the global thought-leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in the audience of what representation shouldn’t look like: the notion that trans people are “newly in-fashion” and the use of cis heterosexual models to promote gender neutral clothes in marketing campaigns and publications.

My beauty is so tremendous it has to be edited out of magazines and movements… just to prove it does not exist, they [sic] said.

The BOF article said that Vaid-Menon has:

…created and modeled three gender neutral collections over the past few years under their [sic] ‘namesake brand’ and he said it was time for fashion to “move beyond ‘gender-segregated stores and men’s magazines and women’s magazines.’

“Voices is a completely different kind of fashion industry gathering,” the BOF website said. “The Business of Fashion presents Voices as an annual invitation-only event bringing together the movers, shakers and trailblazers of the fashion industry and uniting them with the big thinkers, entrepreneurs and inspiring people who are shaping the wider world.”

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