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Gender's Role in Fashion
Naturally, as well as socio-culturally, men and women are defined separately. It is, of course, not discrimination, but rather natural necessity. Secondly, because of such differences in their appearance, the cultural norms and expectations related to a man and a woman are also different. And, fundamentally, their body structures and shapes are different; therefore, their dresses are also designed accordingly. In India, usually men wear pants, shirts, dhoti, kurta and women wear salwar-kameez, sari, salwar-suit, lehnga, Ghaghara-choli, girls also wear frocks, skirts, etc. In addition to this, some of the gender-neutral dresses are jeans, t-shirts, track-suits, lower, etc., but still, even these gender-neutral dresses are designed differently for men and women.
What Role Does Gender Play in Fashion?
Our need to wear clothes does not stop at necessity only, but over a period of time, it took the form of much more than necessity, as it became the symbol of profession (for example, uniforms that are required in different professions); the symbol of identity of a specified group of people (such as the red to maroon colored dhoti of monks; the pajama-kurta and bundi of leaders, etc.); and, of course, it reflects someone’s social status. People are usually judged by their dresses. Poorly dressed people have not been given attention. So, social status and fashion have a direct relation with each other. Amidst all this, gender also plays an important role in designing dresses for men and women differently.
Interestingly, dresses of people, not only provide protection to the body, but also give a certain message. For example, men's dress emphasizes more on social power and responsibility; on the other hand, women's dresses symbolize beauty and draw attention to moral and physical development. Therefore, if you observe not only the design but also the colors, you will find gender-specific colors.
Role of Colors in Fashion
Color is one of the most essential elements of fashion as it not only helps in creating an innovative and unique design, but also helps in deciding the gender-based dresses. For example, usually black, white, and other such light colors reflect men’s choices; on the other hand, pink, green, red, yellow, etc., reflect women’s choices.
Gender-Based Fashion Designs
Gender-based fashion design is inherently embedded in the fashion industry. Almost all the fashion designers and big and small brands are precisely work and gender-based designs. The color they choose is gender specific, the design they create is gender specific, the quality of fabric they use is gender specific, and surprisingly, the selling price tags they put on the dresses is also gender specific.
Gender-Based Shopping Preference
Usually, women do more shopping than men. Surprisingly, in many families, women are the sole decision-makers as they decide what their husbands and boy and girl kids will wear. According to Buttle (1992), clothes shopping is believed to be "an opportunity for self-expression, fantasy, a break from the normal routine of shopping and perhaps a little of self-indulgence."
So, the selection of designs and colors reflect the individual’s overall personality. This is the reason that most of the fashion designers pay much attention on their research before creating any new design. They study their consumers, their necessities, likenesses, and fashion trends (which are different for males and females) and then create new designs.
In addition to this, men and women shoppers do have different shopping tendencies and behaviors. Usually, men are likely to have more independency, confidence, and hence make swift and careless decision during making selection and buying cloth for themselves. Neither they seek friends’ or relatives’ advice while choosing the clothes, nor they get influenced by anyone’s suggestions and opinions.
On the other hand, women usually seek the opinions of their friends and relatives and search a lot before finalizing. Likewise, women give more importance on cloth assortment. They want to explore all the available choices before choosing the final one.
Gender-Based Store Design
Not only the clothing design, but the stores where these clothes and dresses are sold are also designed differently. The lady shops' or stores’ design is entirely different, as it decors differently. The architect, furniture, aesthetic decoration, and even shops’ staff behave differently with women than with men.
Likewise, gender does have a profound role in deciding fashion design. It is not only based on the fact that male and female are two structurally different bodies, but rather, it goes very deep and researches their likeness, dis-likeness, their needs, new fashion trends, their knowledge of fabrics’ quality, everything is important. Therefore, without understanding gender-based physiology and psychology, it is very difficult to create new designs and do business in the fashion industry.
1. Pisey Chea. Gender Differences in the Fashion Consumption and Store Characteristics in Swedish Clothing Stores (URL - https://www.diva-portal.org)
2. Cross Sword. What Role Does Gender Play In Fashion? (URL - https://cross-sword.com)
3. Shefali Shukla. A Study on Effect of Gender Differences on Apparels Buying Decision (URL - https://www.inspirajournals.com)
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