Across The Border Of Gender! “No Gender” Models Creates New Fashion Culture In Japan
Within the couple of the years, there have been a significant challenges regarding the concept of “gender” all over the world. Without these challenges, there hasn’t any new changes in to our world and to open our eyes to the new possibilities.
For example, Conchita Wurst from Austria, who became an international sensation and surprised us not only with her amazing singing talent, but also with her unconventional appearance as being a beautiful male. Ever since, there have been ideas and changes going on with the more acceptance with different types of gender. Also as Tokyo Girls’ Update, we have been following Ladybeard and LADYBABY as a new sensation from Japan as well. (Check out the past article about “Boys Be Kawaii!”: http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/boys-be-kawaii-japan-20150959842.html )
Not just “kawaii” boys, but also the “no-gender” or “genderless” wave has come to Japan as well. This new fashion wave has influenced to popular culture in Tokyo as well, and currently, many of there are many fashion icons emerged from this trend. What does it mean to be a “no-gender”? I have found out some of the criteria to be “no gender” or “genderless” from the internationally known standard to Japanese examples.
What is it and how to be “no gender” or “genderless”
“No-gender” is the new fashion wave, which blurs the boundary of gender. Traditionally in fashion, there was a clear division between women’s and men’s wear, and thought to be in separate designs according to that divisional standard. But most recently, there has been a trend to enjoy fashion more freely and wear whatever you please. With that fashion liberation, the blurring of the person’s gender according to what they wear, “no-gender” fashion have emerged. Some might describe it as “gender neutral” or “gender-less.” Many of the department stores or fashion runway since last season had “no gender” as a main theme, and many of the celebrities were also wearing “no gender” outfits on the runway or on red carpet social events.
This concept is different from “unisex” because “unisex” is the clothes (or hairstyle) that allows both genders can wear. But, “no gender” genre is more emphasized to the wearer; the wearer becomes the blur in the gender by the item of clothes, rather than the clothes itself that is the identifier of the gender.
Some of these are some overlapping concept with being “androgynous.” But rather, “no gender” or “genderless” is like a play on; transgressing the gender boundary by wearing the opposite sex’s clothes in style. And to look good in the opposite sex’s clothes, you are influenced to be “androgynous.”
Also, “genderless” doesn’t necessary equals to the individuals’ sexuality as well. If men wearing women-type clothes, it this doesn’t mean “drag,” or women wearing men-type clothes, it also doesn’t mean a “tomboy.” “No gender” or “genderless” fashion just have opened the option to the people to wear whatever that looks good in your style, no matter the gender specific item it could be.
“No Gender” Icons/Models In Japan
Currently, there have been “genderless” models and television icons in Japan as well that is growing their popularity to young audiences. There have been many “onee” TV personalities in Japan, but most recently, there’s the new wave of being a “genderless” rather than trying to be different gender.
This trend has become more apparent when GENKING, the mysterious “beautiful male,” have become popular to the Japanese young audiences in variety shows with his unique personality and his solid stance with the issue of gender.
GENKING differentiate himself as being “onee,” because he has different perspective of gender and sexuality. His ambition is to be like Akihiro Miwa, the legendary gay, drag queen, soprano singer, who has also stick to his beauty to be “genderless” than just being Drag. Currently, he has established to be “GENKING” himself, rather than being in a categorized in a certain type of people, since he couldn’t be fit in the past categorization of “tarento” in Japan.
With “genderless” or “no gender” popularity also increase in Japan, there are more male “no gender” readers’ models in fashion magazines. Youji Kondo (こんどうようぢ) is one of the most popular “no gender” readers’ models in Japan. Currently, he appears in the teen magazine “Ranzuki” and the popular blue-letter magazine, “Zipper,” as the Harajuku model, gained many of teen popularity through magazine and social media appearances.
The main reasons of his popularity as “genderless” model is his coordinate technique of wearing the Women’s large size T-shirt to make him look sharp, and his unique advice for girls’ to wear the Men’s set-up fashion. Not only himself, but he openly suggests to both his male and female fans to challenge themselves to transgress the category of fashion gender.
Another popular male “genderless” model is Usuke Devil, who is now the new generation fashion icon, who has fans across the borders. He is considered to be “Instagram idol,” that there are many voices from his fans that, “he is a lot more beautiful than girls.”
Usuke Devil is currently a student at one of the prestigious fashion college in Japan, Bunka Fashion College, and also being active as a model in big name fashion magazine like “WWD” and “Soen.” He sometimes appear with his twin sister, Asami Hida, who was also a readers’ model in the magazine, “CUTiE” and a student studying to be a nurse, to show some of the “pair coordinate” that they do.
Many of these “no gender” male icons are described as the wave of “neo-ikemen (good-looking men).” And there are more teen females that likes these “neo-ikemen” to be dreamy, but also to feel the rivalry or jealously towards their beauty.
There are many opposition to this “neo-ikemen” that being “genderless” is somewhat creepy and weird as well. Many of these critiques tell that they are “not manly,” which is not attractive that both genders can admire. Regardless of these kind of oppositions, Yohji Kondo staff tweeted that he’s in a photoshoot for “Genderless (Photo)book.”
The popularity of the “genderless” or “no gender” fashion models and icons seem to be now at it’s peak in Japan as well.
“No gender” fashion trend has caused us to rethink about what we wear and our own identity and liberated our fashion expression. There are opposition because it is thought as being unconventional. But what you wear, and how you wear the clothes you like, is what makes you, yourself, in anyway. What is your style as “no gender”?
[Exclusive Program] Tokyo GIrls’ Update TV #006 : SBY in Shibuya109 & Pikarin’s Cosplay
8th Wave of Tokyo Idol Festival 2016 Performers Announced!!