“Would you buy a skirt from this man?”, reads the title of The Times Magazine Fashion Issue article on this seasons London Fashion Week’s (#LFW) designer “shocker”. “This man” being J.W. Anderson. And the title of the article being a somewhat sarcastic and patronising statement to address the man that The New York Times called a “star”. “His show is a game changer” they cried! And why? Because his Autumn/Winter collection consisted of men wearing dresses.
Now yes, I do applaud Anderson’s flawless designs and his damn right gorgeous Topshop collections. But in the midst of all this praising of the genius who put a dress on a man, I have two problems.
The first; have you not forgotten our girl CoCo? CoCo Chanel, who took the world by storm by being one of the first women to wear pants in public? Now that takes guts, especially since sexism was still very much societies norm back in her day. Trousers were a man thing, a mans privilege. And now, thanks to her, we can wear trousers and leggings galore without being slapped in the face. Oh, and she also established the LBD, but that’s another hallelujah all together.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that when we put it in the perspective of fashions historic relationship with gender politics, Anderson isn’t being that ground breaking at all.
So why are we so shocked about it? Whether that be shocked in the better sense of admirable praise or shocked in the worse sense that my grandmother manifested in one sentence: “A man in a dress? That’s just wrong”. This leads on to my second, and more obvious problem. Why is it “wrong” for a man to wear a dress, when up is it completely okay for us girls to prance around in jeans? Now that my friends, is sexism. Sexism towards men. For once.
Maybe we can blame the ugly fact that, whether we like it or not, society has a problem with males obtaining feminine personality traits. Just as they have a problem with a woman being too powerful or aggressive. Welcome, homophobia.
Food for thought.
So, although I don’t agree the notion of a man wearing a skirt being anything too revolutionary, especially to the Scottish, what I do think is quite bloody cool is that J.W. Anderson has got people talking. Talking and questioning and wondering why, why in this world of ours today that we consider so “modern” , do people make such a bawl about a man not having much material between his legs?