Gay Menswear: Does It Actually Exist?

With so many opposing views on sexual orientation, gay menswear still faces challenges in the fashion industry.

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Gay Menswear: Can it actually exist in men’s fashion today?

Gay menswear still doesn’t have a concrete place in men’s fashion. Today, “gay” is charged with various stereotypes depending on one’s perspective. So, what exactly does gay menswear mean to you?

We asked groups of straight and gay people, to find out their first impressions on how they perceived gay menswear. Some assumed that it meant gay fetish wear. Others defined it as trendy clothes for men. And some thought it literally meant clothes for gay men. With so many different opinions on what gay menswear means, can such a trend even exist in fashion?

Kanye West is the perfect example of a straight man that wears “gay menswear”. West has risen above his rapper-married-to-Kim-Kardashian persona thanks to his rising Yeezy line. He’s a heterosexual male that isn’t afraid to express himself with stylish clothes. Many even consider West an American style icon. Yet, when West chose to wear a leather Givenchy kilt at the 12-12-12 Sandy Relief concert, his look went viral in the worst way. Tweets across the nation were bashing his outfit to the point where one person claimed his skirt style was “deplorable”. It got so bad that Getty Images had to remove concert images of his Givenchy kilt.

Kilts aren’t exactly groundbreaking fashion to the natives of Scotland and Ireland. This is a traditional garment that European men have been wearing for centuries. The U.S. is actually one of the few countries that haven’t become accustomed to crotch-free menswear. Dress-length shirts, like kaftans and thawbs, are common across the Middle East and North Africa. Apparently, the world already has opposing opinions of what is acceptable attire between men and women – let alone sexual orientation.

The menswear rules are completely different when entering the world of runway.

The latest craze in couture is all about models flaunting the androgynous look. Men are invading the catwalk in stereotypically feminine clothes, like A-line skirts and platform heels. Gucci’s Spring 2016 menswear collection was flooded with peter pan collars and bowtie blouses. Moschino’s Spring 2017 menswear collection debuted a hippie-chic look with men in tight swimming briefs and rainbow, flower power prints. Even e-commerce is growing as a gender-bending base with websites catering to the LGBT communities. Differio is one of the top menswear online shopping sites that sells trendy and gay menswear with top sellers, like modern kilts and leggings.

In the limits of fashion, there really are no limits. A man in a skirt on the runway is a fashion statement encouraging self-expression and experimentation. This isn’t something style experts would label as gay menswear because there are no boundaries when it comes to high fashion. Designers prefer to refrain from anything safe because the goal is to be different. This means going to the extent of throwing out the “do’s” and “don’ts”.

It’s ironic that women fought for equal rights, while people judge men for wearing anything seemingly feminine. Although gay menswear is still debatable, it has the potential to establish itself as a solid style in fashion. Most trends begin from couture and eventually become commercialized for the masses. You heard it here first: the day will come when women in pants and men in skirts will be walking side by side, and the Earth will not fall off its axis.

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