Lady Gaga is the new face of Tudor Watch's #BornToDare campaign, which also features athletes David Beckham and Beauden Barrett. It’s been noted in media coverage that she is the first woman to be part of this campaign. Being the first woman after only two men (and for a product that is relatively ungendered—while particular kinds of watches do cater to forms of femininity and masculinity, the watch itself is commonly worn by people of all genders) isn’t the biggest news in the fashion industry, but it is part a larger overall trend.
It’s a piece of the same story, albeit on an entirely different level, of CoverGirl announcing James Charles as their first male representative. (We can talk about the merits of James Charles himself later, but for now, I’m sticking to the overall trend.) More and more often, we see spokespeople of different genders for products that only a few years ago were “allowed” to have only one particular kind of representation.
On the other hand, we have the controversial Vogue cover story that declared Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid’s fashion sense as a form of “gender fluidity.” It was swiftly attacked because no, Vogue, borrowing clothes from your partner’s closet doesn’t make you genderfluid. However, it does contribute to the growing movement that fashion should not be gendered, and that all people should be able to wear what makes them look and feel good. It’s strange that we live in a time when that statement is controversial, but fashion restrictions are still pervasive—especially for men’s fashion, where it is still perceived as abnormal to wear makeup and dresses.
Fashion campaigns aren’t the end-all, be-all of cultural conception, but they do go a long way in representing different fashion expression and expectations. Perhaps someday all announcements like this will be as unremarkable as Lady Gaga selling watches.