Fashion is undeniably a platform of rebellion. From a simple slogan t-shirt at a climate strike event to a more costume-y outfit at Pride parades, fashion is used as a medium that speaks for people’s aspiration. Fashion is also an attempt to break all the boundaries that restrict people’s freedom and wellbeing.
The liberty of self-expression is an issue that fashion keeps fighting for since forever. For example, Coco Chanel has succeeded normalizing women for wearing trousers and Thom Browne currently tries the same to normalize men for wearing skirts by constantly dressing famous male celebrities in their signature kilt-like skirt. Fashion slowly blurs the dichotomy of masculine and feminine clothing, which is relevant with the current situation where people, especially the younger ones, are more aware about the gender-neutrality issue.
Today, one of the hottest acts of blurring gender norms in fashion is the comeback of Stefano Pilati to the fashion industry with “Random Identities” after his hiatus for years. The former creative director of YSL & Zegna introduced his new label in 2017, offering gender-neutral clothing to the younger generation.
The earlier collection of Pilati’s R.I. was clearly about a menswear brand for those whose masculinity isn’t fragile at all. Offering bra prints on men’s shirt, ankle-length chunky-heel boots, and A-line skirt in men size is the subtle yet provocative way that R.I. chose to start the process of erasing gender-norms in clothing. As we know that 2010s was also the decade of celebrating sexuality, the debut of R.I. also explored sexuality to the kinky side of it: producing chunky chain necklace with Prince Albert piercing pendant.
After only setting the brand image as a middle-finger-to-masculinity menswear label, R.I. took the meaning of its brand name to the literal way in Pitti Uomo in January 2020. Pilati was showcasing the vision of Random Identities: acceptance and celebration of people of any sexualities, genders, ethnicity, and body type.
The runway setting of Random Identities’ F/W 2020 show represented the club atmosphere, something that Pilati loves for living in Berlin. The collection itself consisted of a more expanded range of androgynous looks. The opening look was a black suit and a white shirt, paired with cropped black trousers and black chunky boots. The look was finished by the unexpected accessory: crystal bra necklace, worn by an androgynous model. Such a statement.
Besides a lot of sharp yet flamboyant tailoring look, R.I. also showed couples of vibrant-colored knitted sweaters, along with a wide variety of jackets and coats. The styling of the collection will give you inspiration to explore more ways of expressing yourself through clothing, especially for male. For example, pair a flight jacket with A-lined skirt, or wear your knit sweater half-way through as if it’s a scarf to give your tailored look a twist, or wearing a puffy-sleeved shirt with midi skirt and finish the look with a funky knit poncho.
The attempt of celebrating body-positivity in R.I. latest show was unfortunately only represented by one look, but fortunately it was one of the strongest looks. It was Fatfemme walking down the runway with a one-shoulder sequined black top with black trousers and a beige furry coat. The other one of the strongest look? It was that extravagant knit poncho look that was shown before Pilati himself closing the show. Giving some words to sum up the show, it was relevant, empowering, and absolutely challenging the status-quo.
Random Identities has been setting a new vision of what future should look like through its: full of randomness that every identity and self-expression are accepted in the society. Even though clearly R.I. isn’t the pioneer brand that challenges the gender-norms, but it feels like R.I. is the one that makes us question our true identity with its straight-forward and anonymous aesthetic, sparking some haunting existential questions that probably will leave us awaken through the night. Are we really who we are? Is there something unexplored about ourselves? Should we erase the labelling of identity? Hopefully the answer will give us the courage to truly express our true selves.