BEIRUT: The struggle for comfortable fashion had been a never-ending battle for women.
From the corset obsession in the 16th century and the mini-skirt revolution in the late 60s to today’s workforce outfits, women’s fashion is continuously changing and evolving.
Androgynous fashion is the process of combining masculine and feminine characteristics in clothing to create a gender fluid look. This includes female suits, big trench coats, Oxford shoes for both sexes, and blazers.
Lebanese fashion bloggers, designers, models, and fashionistas are using androgyny as an outlet to fight against gender inequality and stereotypes. Lebanese fashion designers such as Roni El Helou, Ahmed Amer, Tatyana Antoun, and Aniss Ezzedine have been leading in this movement.
“I chose Androgyny because first of all, I find it to be a very interesting element. It has a certain mystery behind it and allows a person to question the notion of gender,” fashion designer, Aniss Ezzedine, told Annahar. “For me, Androgynous fashion is breaking the limits of both femininity and masculinity.”
Ezzedine had a huge interest in the whole fashion world since he was in school.
“I used to sketch dresses, and ready to wear garments during all my classes,” he said. “That’s when I knew I had to be in fashion. I applied to the Lebanese American University’s new fashion program, and here I am.”
Hosting two androgynous fashion shows, Ezzedine had Lebanon buzzing about his designs and statements.
“Fashion has no limits. Shapes, volumes, and colors do not define people's gender,” he added.
A recent LAU fashion graduate Tatyana Antoun also made her way to the top with her edgy pieces, unusual vision, and fierce cuts.
“My work is more on the edge because it is liberated from expectation and norms,” Antoun told Annahar, “It alters static mindsets and pushes them into an exaggerated vision.”
Antoun started designing at a very young age using crayons, magazines, and Barbie dolls.
Fashion design has always been more than just self-expression to Antoun, fashion design is her core identity.
“Edgy and androgynous fashion to me means being able to really pour my heart into what I am creating,” Antoun said. “It adds a higher purpose to my life: it means being able to have a strong female voice and speak up about matters that I consider a humane duty.”
Roni El Helou:
“When it comes to women fashion, I like designing something that is edgy, feminine, and masculine at once,” Roni El Helou told Annahar. “I always give bold cuts, strong silhouette, and always a rock and roll, grunge effect.”
El Helou started his career with Creative Space Beirut (CBS), a free fashion school in Lebanon. Four years later and at his graduation show, he was discovered by the Co-founder of STARCH, a non-profit organization that helps launch Lebanese emerging designers.
“To me, androgyny means breaking barriers,” he said. “We are so used to the typical model type, feminine, and sensual fashion; androgyny means challenging this.”
He was known as “the designer” ever since he was eight years old. Ahmed Amer is one of the most known young Lebanese designers when it comes to androgyny and statement. Amer started as an interior design student at the Lebanese University but knew all along that fashion design is calling him. Without hesitation, he shortly joined Creative Space Beirut.
“During my second year at CBS, I started with the androgynous design because I found myself comfortable in clothing that doesn’t carry a gender identity,” he told Annahar. “I feel that androgyny is a white paper with no limits. You feel free, you let out all your inner feelings and thoughts onto it. These clothes change according to the person wearing them, and that’s what’s beautiful about androgyny.”
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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