The fashion industry has seemed to embrace the notion that there are more than two categories of gender. Men are wearing skirts, women are walking down the runway in menswear shows and brands are combining their collections into one. Yet we still refer to this week's fashion week as "New York Fashion Week: Men's."
Rain Dove, an androgynous model who poses in both "men's" and "women's" clothing, isn't adhering to that label.
"I walked my final 'men's' show of the #NYFWM season today and all I could think was that it's only called 'men's' fashion because of the fact that we have deemed only 'men' can wear it," Dove, who goes by female pronouns, wrote in an Instagram post Thursday.
She doesn't just wear men's clothing for her job. She believes she can wear whatever she pleases — regardless of how she identifies.
"I've been wearing this since I possibly could," she explained. "Not because there's something wrong with me — but because I love the feel and cut of the clothing ... It's a stance to say, 'Fabric should not bind me in its false politics.'"
Dove often speaks out about a variety of issues plaguing the fashion and beauty industries. Just a few weeks ago, she starred in a new campaign for the brand Dove, where she discussed how often she had been told she looked "boyish and ugly."
"This is about showing that it's a waste of time to box people into sexpectations."
"You don't get to tell me how I need to look," she said in the video. "I may not be the conventional girl, but it doesn't mean that I am not a pretty girl." (Because this was an international campaign to a "generally conservative crowd", she went with binary language.)
"We both are Andro models, agency signed, same size, same height, same 'sex,'" she wrote in the post. "But my friend's skin is darker. I got 15 castings calls and they got zero ... Zero this fashion season. Not even an invite to open calls from their agency. Because their skin color wasn't 'in' this season."
Her point? Being gender and race-inclusive in fashion should not be a trend. "This is not a gimmick. It's not a circus trick," she said in her post about New York Fashion Week: Men's.
As one fan commented on Instagram, "I admire you sooooo much. There's not many people speaking about it," which speaks to a larger point: Dove is speaking up — and her activism in our label-centric society is important.
"There are more pressing things for the human race to worry about than what we wear, how long our hair is, how well we pass as attractive for our perceived sex," she wrote on Facebook. "This is about showing that it's a waste of time to box people into sexpectations."