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Is that a guy in a skirt? Yes, yes it is. Inside a wardrobe potluck event

Men and women swapped favourite outfits at a workshop and style shoot held in Mumbai to beat down gender norms.

mumbai Updated: Jun 17, 2017 09:24 IST
Anesha George
Anesha George
Hindustan Times
Gender bending fashion,Soul Patch,Lower Parel
Two women have fun sporting clothes borrowed from strangers of the opposite sex. (Pramod Thakur / HT Photo)

When Kunal Punjabi, stepped into the Soul Patch studio in Lower Parel, he was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Moments later, he was wearing a bright floral skirt, a maroon low-back top and a big grin on his face.

“I was always curious about what is considered quintessential female dressing. Now I know!” says the 28-year-old video producer, who was a part of the wardrobe potluck organised by Design Fabric, a collaborative platform for design.

“With ‘Image’ being our issue of the month, we attended a workshop conducted by non-binary poet and performer, Alok Ved-Menon, and realised the need to focus on gender neutrality in fashion,” says Madhuvanti Mohan, creative producer at Design Fabric.

The idea of the workshop was simple. Bring in your favourite outfits and try on one belonging to a member of the opposite sex. Participants were also professionally styled by Pasham Alwani, senior fashion editor at Grazia India, all with the aim of shattering stereotypes...and of course to have a whole lot of fun!

“I’ve never of it as weird or embarrassing to be interested in knowing how to wear a skirt right. In fact, as soon as I slipped into the skirt, the first thing I thought was how comfortable and breezy it was,” says Punjabi.

Filmmaker Reema Sengupta, 26, says she participated because she is notorious for ‘stealing’ clothes from her male friends and being allowed to do so publically was exciting. Dressed in a cropped loose jersey and cargo shorts, Sengupta says, “ I got to team this with sheer black stockings, which just gave it a sexier look.”

Graphic designer Shrey Purohit, 19, was at the workshop with his girlfriend Sapna Thakur, 28, because they felt it was an expression of what they have always believed. “We share clothes all the time and we were glad to meet like-minded people,” says Purohit. “ Although we have experimented in the past, I’ve always been afraid of pinks. This sheer shirt is the brightest it could get and I feel I am finally ready to rock all shades!”

Alwani said she had a whale of a time styling all the young participants. “ Everyone had such creative ideas to share. Men wanted to try dresses, but sadly we didn’t have enough in their size and women were open to accessorising with wacky socks and bow ties. Most importantly, they were all so comfortable in what they wore and carried it off.”

Arul Kacker, 23, a concert organiser, registered for the event because he wanted to take home a few tips on gender fluid dressing. “I usually limit myself to floral shirts and paisley prints, but I really wanted to expand my boundaries,” he says. “This checked overcoat is not over the top or going out of its way to prove a point and I really think I could use a few layers like this to dress more fashionably.”

First Published: Jun 17, 2017 09:19 IST