In response to the recent controversy surrounding Vogue’s article on Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, Vogue has offered an apology for using the label ‘gender fluid’ to describe Gigi and Zayn’s casual attitude towards sharing each other’s clothes. After reading the article myself, I understand what Vogue were trying to say; it is indeed progressive that Gigi and Zayn do not take into account that clothes are designed for the genders separately. They personally feel that it is unnecessary to separate gender within fashion, as fashion is for everyone and if you like a shirt that’s designed for a different gender, why shouldn’t you wear it?
The main issue for me and many other people was the use of ‘gender fluid’. Not once did the article discuss how Gigi and Zayn personally identify in regards to gender. As they have never spoken about it, we, possibly ignorantly, assume that they identify as girl and boy. It would perhaps of been more appropriate to label their look as androgynous, as gender is so much more than just clothes. Being gender fluid is not identifying yourself with any gender; you are you. Unless I’m misinformed, I’m not aware that this specific label applies to Gigi or Zayn as what the article was suggesting was not gender fluidity.
It was insensitive and inappropriate for Vogue to use such a label in this instance, when there are many more accurate words to describe what Gigi and Zayn were getting at. However, now that Vogue has issued an apology, I think it’s important to focus on what the article and the iconic couple were trying to say. It is important to be yourself, and for many of us we express ourselves through our clothes. It’s the first thing that people notice about us, and though we don’t like to admit it, we make a judgement. It is also important to note that Gigi nor Zayn ever claimed to be gender fluid themselves, and they shouldn’t be held responsible for someone else’s words.
There are so many expectations to look a certain way within society and to follow the trends that everyone else is, but Gigi and Zayn are normalising looking ‘different’, or not necessarily following the rules in regards to fashion. Their approach is inspiring and an important step in encouraging other people to feel at ease with who they are, allowing them too to experiment with clothes like Hadid and Malik.