Leon Haasbroek talks about SA’s latest genderless fashion trends


Fashion publicist Leon Haasbroek (centre) talks genderless fashion as seen in recent SA Fashion Week collections

Genderless fashion trends aren’t new, but they are constantly changing. We take a look at what the latest movements in fashion are with fashion publicist Leon Haasbroek.

The androgenous look has been around for over a century. We have seen variations of it since the feudal era all the way up to iconic designers like Coco Chanel and Black Coffee. However, there has been a lot more attention placed on gender fluid or gender free fashion recently.

Flowing silhouettes jostle with unisex style blazers and trousers on the catwalks. Fashion expert Leon Haasbroek explains that while the trend is not a new one, it is certainly one that is gaining prominence and popularity.

“With popular TV series like RuPaul’s Drag Race, the notion of gender fluidity within the fashion space has become a lot more acceptable and even fashionable,” says Haasbroek, “Boys playing with skirts, girls exploring with trousers and the dress shirt/jacket is becoming a staple in everyone’s closet.”

The current movement among designers is to steer clear of splitting any clothing items, colours, silhouettes, and fabrics into gender binaries. “For me, the biggest trend of obscuring the traditional thought process within the fashion landscape, is the man bag,” Haasbroek reveals, “I’m talking about those big chunky Birkins or even those Dior Book Totes. There are more men purchasing big chunky bags to pair with their sober business suits.”

Haasbroek points to Viviers Studio which featured sexy little bags carried by their models in a runway show.

He adds that trousers seem to be a girl’s best friend this season, with many designers choosing to bring out flowy loose trousers and Palazzo pants, such as Research Unit, Belhauzen and Black Coffee.

There has been greater freedom in choosing what we feel comfortable with wearing as opposed to conforming to old style dressing and societal norms. Haasbroek elaborates, “I think the platform is open for us to explore what we want to wear, which speaks of who we are as a person and a brand. Self-expression has never seen a more robust opportunity to play between the gender lines with clothing.”

What, then, is essential for the gender trender’s closet? Haasbroek has some sage advice: “Most certainly a puffy skirt and some killer tees. I think a dress shirt and coat is a must! For me, personally, something you will always find in my closet (excuse the pun) is many different textured black pairs of lady’s stockings, dress shirts and then flamboyant, low key Avant-garde bomber jackets.”

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