The fashion industry is reeling from the arrival of the Cyberpunk genre of sci-fi, fantasy and action films.
The trend has been a boon to young women who are seeking to explore a more feminine, sexualized world.
At the same time, cyberpunk has also been accused of being a misogynistic label, with women being depicted as sexually objectified and objectified in films like “The Matrix.”
For some fashion designers, the new trend is a counter to the traditional gender roles of the fashion industry.
“Cyberpunk is a reaction to the patriarchal structure of fashion,” said Aya K. Ghorbani, the fashion editor at the women’s magazine Bitch.
“If it becomes mainstream, it will help to redefine fashion.”
For Ghorbano, who teaches fashion theory at the College of William and Mary, the term Cyberpunk is not meant to exclude anyone.
“We can have a Cyberpunk wardrobe,” she said.
“It doesn’t have to be a dress or a tank top.
If you don’t like the way things are, go and do something else.
But if you like the idea of having something that’s feminine and edgy and exciting, it makes sense to have that in the world.”
Ghorbani said the industry needs to develop a more inclusive image.
“Women have been very important to the fashion world and to our culture,” she added.
“And I think there are women who don’t fit in with the norm.
We need to change the perception.”
For designers like Ghorbanyan, cyberpunks offer a refreshing new way of looking at a world dominated by men.
They are a place where people don’t have a lot of expectations about what women should look like, and instead, they are encouraged to look and feel whatever they want, she said, adding that the genre also provides an alternative to the conventions of the traditional fashion world.
“There are so many options for women, and a lot more options for men,” Ghorban said.
For Ghorbanyan and others, the trend is about reclaiming what is left of the feminine.
“The cyberpunk fashion movement is a response to the patriarchy, and to the male gaze,” she explained.
“You can dress like this all day long, but that does not mean you’re going to be judged for it.”
For K.P., a fashion designer and writer in New York City, cyberfashion is not a new phenomenon, but she said it has become popular in the past year.
She said her experience as a trans woman has allowed her to embrace the genre, and even see it as a counterpoint to traditional male-dominated fashion.
K.P. said that while there is a certain irony to the idea that fashion is a male-controlled industry, cyberwear is an opportunity for a women’s brand to stand up for itself.
“I’m so glad that people are embracing cyberpunk and that people who were born into it are being able to look at the world through their own eyes,” she noted.
“I think it’s an antidote to the misogyny that is rampant in the fashion business,” she continued.
“So when a woman does it, that’s great.
But I don’t think it should define the way women look.”
K. P. says her experience growing up in a patriarchal family has shaped her view of what a woman should be.
“That was always the case for me.
I grew up with the idea, that I was a woman and it was okay to be whatever I wanted to be, and I was very lucky to have been raised that way,” she told the Washington Post.
“But I have also seen how it has impacted my life.
And I think that’s part of what it’s all about.”
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