(From AFP)

No stranger to barrettes, bows and beauty products, Japanese Instagram icon and model Genking is a proud flag bearer for “genderless” fashion in which young men adopt unequivocally feminine styles and challenge traditional norms.

Unisex clothing boasts a long history in Asia.
Unisex clothing in Asia boasts a long history

Although women around the world have taken to menswear in droves – sporting trousers since the 1930s when French fashion legend Coco Chanel put her equestrian clients in pants – the sight of a man in a skirt still raises eyebrows in the West. In much of Asia, however, unisex clothing – whether in the form of a traditional shalwar kameez, sarong or kimono – boasts a long history, while popular theatrical traditions regularly feature gender-bending performances.

Genking’s long bleached blond locks, curled eyelashes and fondness for both womenswear and menswear testify to a self-professed identity as a “genderless” person.

Born Genki Tanaka, Genking fell in love with fashion at an early age, dreaming of Chanel purses and pastel pink accessories.

“My mother was pretty tolerant. … But in those days, I still didn’t want to admit my feminine side and I was kind of trying to hide it,” Genking said. “When I turned 20, I quit pretending.”

Genking set up an Instagram account where selfies showcase a style that has attracted nearly 850,000 followers, kicking off a television career and culminating in a catwalk appearance at the packed Tokyo Girls Collection show last year. Read More.

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