TW: Use of the word f*g. I don’t condone this usage at all.
One of my favorite fashion events of the year is the Met Gala. My dad worked in the fashion industry for most of my childhood, so it plays quite a role in my individuality. One aspect that I love about the progression of fashion is the blurring of lines between masculine and feminine attire that is becoming so common. In a world where women were expected to wear dresses every day, we now see them rocking powerful pantsuits to proms and weddings. We see men adorning gorgeous skirts without having to label them as kilts for them to be deemed societally acceptable. While the blending of gender identities has always been a part of underground and rebellious counter-culture, it’s been quietly making its way into mainstream fashion. Now, there’s no doubt that Hip-Hop has a meaningful impact on the latest trends. Whether rappers are wearing certain shoes or types of jeans dictates what the masses will wear. I even remember in grade school when the boys would all dye their hair like Wiz Khalifa. So, it comes as no surprise that the Met Gala’s musical attendees were made up largely of famous rappers and Hip-Hop moguls, some of whom are known for their risk-taking when it comes to clothing. Artists like Kid Cudi walked the red carpet in make-up and a dress, receiving mixed feedback. While newer generations encouraged it, I saw a lot of older generations of Hip-Hop lovers on my Facebook make remarks like, this is what’s wrong with these new kids. People seem to think there’s something innately wrong with a man wearing a dress as if they have a neurological disorder. One of the many issues with that thought process is that oftentimes, seeing a person dressed in a garment that’s usually associated with the gender opposite of what they classify themselves as is thought of as gay. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. There is no correlation. And even if there was, that doesn’t make it morally wrong in any way. Fashion is a freedom of expression, an art form, and should be thought of as such. Without risk-taking, fashion can’t evolve. That’s why, in a culture as influential as Hip-Hop, we need to encourage rappers to take these explorative routes rather than restricting fashion and particular garments as masculine or feminine or gay. We need to see these beautiful patterns and textiles as inanimate objects that can be brought to life through art and expression.