“Success comes when you truly embrace who you are.”
Modeling Industry Being Gender-Inclusive.
The modeling industry has undergone a drastic change over the past few years. It is now aiming at gender diversity and inclusion. Queerness is an umbrella term used to describe a range of sexual orientations. As people have become more conscious about it, its appearance on mainstream platforms has increased. However, it was not the same a few years ago. For the people belonging to the queer community, an entry into the fashion shows or runways had been limited. Many models even felt the need of hiding their identities in order to succeed in the industry.
The standards we are inclined towards making us believe that even basic amenities like clothes, should be in accordance with gender. All because you want to fit in the “right” standards set by society. In recent years, however, a lot of progress has been made in the modeling industry with regard to gender inclusivity. With an aim to redefine gender as we know it.
Providing Exposure to Queer Models
We come across transgender models featuring on fashion shows, magazines, and advertisement campaigns. Lately, we have seen queer models like Erika Linder and Rain dove modeling for label-less clothing. They have done both men’s and women’s looks for brands like Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Gucci, and many more. Some of these huge brands have also combined their men’s and women’s shows just to break the stereotypical view of clothing based on gender. As someone rightly quoted,” It looks like they’re sharing women’s wear for a men’s fashion week but in doing that, they are saying that these clothes do not necessarily have to be for women.”
Apart from big brands being inclusive, there has been a steady increase in the modeling agencies also in accepting people of the queer community. There is an agency called Zand Wagon which is a perfect example. It is contributing its maximum to break the “normal beauty standards”. It encourages participation from all races, shapes, sizes, and genders. Their main aim is to provide these models a larger audience where they can share their stories. Zand Wagon seeks to inspire people who sought different ways to celebrate their uniqueness.
There are websites like Qwear fashion which seek to connect queer models with casting directors or fashion designers. They cater to all those who are looking for the next new face in fashion. They plan to do so by creating a database of all the queer models and presenting it on the website. With only a minimal amount they can get a subscription to the website and get the required exposure.
Views of the Queer Models
In an interview, Salih Topcuoghu, a 25-year-old queer model said that working in the modeling industry has been a smooth flow during recent times. However, it was not the same 7 years ago, when he had started working. Fashion brands usually have a clear image in mind. Male models need to look masculine and female models had to look feminine. Salih said,” I was still in the process of trying to know my own self”. Hence, he was in dire straits at that time. As time passed, he embraced his true self and the modeling industry also become quite inclusive. Hence, it has been a clear sailing journey since then.
Another queer model, in an interview, said, ”The future of fashion is nonbinary. We as a community need representation. Looking at myself as a holistic being is one of the most freeing things that I’ve done for myself. I did not know that there was going to be a time when I would find my people. Once society starts viewing each other as just people rather than labels, that is when the fashion industry will be filtered.
The LGBTQ community has been a major part of fashion from the get-go. People belonging to this community are an inspiration to mainstream fashion and hence inclusivity should increase further in this industry. Clothing for everyone and everybody should be the goal irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identities, or gender presentation. The New York Fashion Week has also seen a lot of people belonging to this community. The fashion industry is indebted to the LGBTQ community for its valuable and creative contributions.