Androgyny in fashion remains to be one of the alluring traits of high fashion. We took a look at the key contemporary heterosexual male celebrities who have embraced the androgyny ego and how they have appropriated the style to redefine and subvert the conventions of their art which has given the style a refreshing debonair of cool.

Garrett Borns AKA Børns

Børns may look like the love child of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Jack White of The White Stripes but this androgynous falsetto singer supreme has been rolling in stadiums of captivated audiences and has caught many an eye on his style of attire.

There is a flamboyancy to Børns’ style, Gucci laden suits and vocals mixed with synthesised hooks and rhythms reminiscent of Tame Impala. The visual spectacle of his musicianship has become very attractive to audiences.

Bending gender norms was seen as rebellious and outrageous under a 20th century patriarchal Western society. We think of artists like Little Richard, Elvis, David Bowie, Prince and Mick Jagger who have mystified and intrigued their audiences to question their gender identity or explore its meaning and representations.

In today’s social and cultural climate however, the non-binary convention and gender understanding has progressively become part of the norm. With Børns, his ability to epitomise on that reality provides an inclusiveness with his audience and fans. His music resonates a psychedelic trip which provides a sonic escapism, and in tow, paired with his visual flamboyancy, Børns is an artist that continues to attract interest in the world of music and fashion.  

Noel Fielding

One of the most alluring figures in pop culture today who embraces the androgyny aesthetic is British comedian Noel Fielding.

Known to be a big fan of 60s and 70s British rock music, pop culture and fashion, Fielding has combined androgyny fashion into his repertoire of comedy, art and personality. Famously known for his tv shows, The Mighty Boosh and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, the androgyny effect that Fielding characterises in his work gels with his creative prowess of the surreal, psychedelic and the absurd.

Fielding reinvents the androgynous tropes that stem from the British mod subculture into his blend of surrealism and absurdist art which continues to bedazzle his fans with intrigue and amusement.

To see what I mean, check out this Guardian article where he recreates famous glam rock shoots. 

Harry Styles

Harry Styles continues to reinvent 60s and 70s fashion as a unique millennial popstar. Long gone are the days where he was a member of One Direction, Harry Styles has carved his own identity as a solo artist.

Styles is one of many male models not to shy away from wearing a dress in fashion shoots or advertisements. Harry Styles is an advocate of gender fluidity.

In 2021, Styles has founded his own cosmetics line named Pleasing and he confesses itself to be a “life brand” of his work and identity. The cosmetic line offers a range of nail polishes, skin lotions, eye and lip oils and serums. Styles’ vision for the cosmetic brand in his own words, hopes to “dispel the myth of binary existence,” characterising to highlight rather than conceal an individual’s beauty, Styles’ comments,

“When we decided Pleasing would make beauty products I wanted to be sure they were something I would use. I didn’t want to make products to mask people, I wanted to highlight them and make them feel beautiful.”

Androgyny in Hip-Hop and Rap

The hypermasculinity of gangsta rap dominated the scenes of hip hop culture in the 1990s where fashion cues embraced the cultural norms of gangster and prison life. Fast forward to the 2000s and 2010s, the exposure to gender fluidity among male and female rap and hip-hop artists began to decimate the mould of stereotypical masculine traits expected from the genre. The ability to channel the androgyny aesthetic into high fashion and then into music is a powerful representation of the artist’s personality.

Has hip hop in the 21st century become more prevalent, rebellious, and outrageous than rock and roll? Or is it a matter of appropriation in different genres of music and art in the domain of pop culture, what is new today and what was old yesterday?

Young Thug

Young Thug must be one of the biggest, enigmatic, eccentric, and influential rappers of his generation to subvert the conventions of modern rap and hip hop. Thug’s critics keep questioning the matter if he is controversial or just being himself.

Young Thug has explored his own gender identity, often seen wearing women’s or men’s clothing or seen combining both. Young Thug simply wears whatever feels comfortable to feel good.
Is Young Thug raps most prominent androgynous hero?  In his own words, Young Thug believes in the non-binary aesthetic,

"In my world, you can be a gangsta with a dress or you can be a gangsta with baggy pants. I feel like there’s no such thing as gender."

Young Thug’s acceptance of a gender-less/non-binary perspective enables him to have more artistic independence and this is evident in his recent 2021 album Punk. Punk mystifies the rap genre with its raw, biographical vocal delivery which is intwined with light acoustic guitar assortments backed with drum beat ambience. Young Thug remains real to himself in this album through the constructs of genre-blending and gender bending.

Jaden Smith

American rapper and actor Jaden Smith has grown out of his famous parents’ shadows, or was he really in his parents’ shadows all along? The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden Smith has long been an advocate of non-binary fashion. As a member of the Gen Z demographic, Smith is a strong influence within the gender evolution that is happening within the current climate of Gen Z individuals, non-binary and the like.

In 2016, Smith has launched his own gender-fluid clothing line called MSFTSrep. He told Variety that “[MSFTS is for] the girl that wants to be a tomboy or the boy that wants to wear a skirt, and people try to condemn.”

In recent times, Smith has starred in the latest Levi’s 501 commercial, which sheds a light for the Levi’s brand to impart inclusiveness.

Jaden Smith is an individual who seeks to have an open-mindedness towards gender identity. In regards to his fashion tastes in androgyny, Smith aims to lessen the notion of gender confusion, rather bringing forth a clarity of acceptance and understanding, as Smith has said in his interview with Nylon magazine,

“You just have to believe in yourself, you know. The world is going to keep bashing me for whatever I do and I'm going to keep not caring.”

If this tickled your fancy, then check out our article about the power of skirts and the men who wear them