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As the industry has evolved around, fashion media has evolved to reflect society realistically. There was a point in time that models were restricted to showcasing clothes and looks that were strictly defined by gender or race. While those labels still exists, there has been an openness to exploring fashion beyond gender or any other limitations that have held the industry back. Fashion Business Essentials contributor Laura Lanteri talks about the evolving mindset of fashion media in recent years.
Fashion media is instrumental in shifting the narrative and sparking conversation. The December 2020 cover of Vogue made headlines when it featured former One Direction singer Harry Styles wearing a Gucci dress. He’s also the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue by himself. This attention-grabbing cover was noticed by conservative media, casual observers, and the fashion world at large. By taking a risk on featuring a man in a dress, Vogue inspired conversations and fashion education discussions about what it truly means to be a “manly man” in today’s world.
Harry Styles is wearing romantic, soft clothes with ruffles that have pastel colors. He's wearing jewelry. He's wearing nail polish. It's 2021 and gender roles in fashion and in general are shifting. Gender neutral clothing is becoming more common. The meeting of the old and the new worked because it enabled a conversation and gave Styles a platform to share his unique take on fashion and gender norms.
In today’s fashion media, many are of the mindset that everybody should wear whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want. The Harry Styles’ Vogue cover was a good way to open the dialogue to the world. The cover helped make the statement that we live in a different time where the definition of masculinity and what it means to be a man has changed. Styles can wear a feminine dress and still fully express his masculinity.
Fashion publications have the ability to influence their readers through editorial statements and thoughtful commentary. Whether it’s a print magazine or a multimedia company or a digital publication, fashion media reaches consumers on so many different levels. They can help tell the story of a brand or spark controversy with just a cover photo.