Pushing The Boundaries of Gender Roles and Body Positivity In Fashion - András Jacobs
by Gabel Strickland
Just because your size isn't represented on a runway, show, or magazine cover doesn't mean it isn't represented on social media — András Jacobs sees to that.
András Jacobs is a fashion influencer, but his platform is about more than modeling stylish outfits while dancing to popular Tik-Tok sounds — it’s about pushing the boundaries of body positivity and gender roles in the fashion world. Jacobs posts about fashion tips, trends, and inspiration all while encouraging his followers to love their bodies and grow their sense of style by pushing the gender binary of clothing.
Styling pastel jumpers and flannel shirts around mid-sized bodies and using popular sounds to make funny affirmations of self love; These are just some of Jacobs' posts that normalize midsize men not just participating in fashion but thriving in the industry.
While the fashion world is becoming progressively more inclusive of all body types, there is still a lack of representation for mid-sized and plus-sized men within it that Jacobs hopes to fill (at least in part) with his content.
“I thought, especially when shows like Queer Eye came out, it's a lot that you see a lot of plus sized men being dressed on it. And I was like, ‘this is amazing, but there's something missing.’...The people that are teaching us about fashion don't look like me. I was like, 'that's great, but like, you also don't know what it's like to walk into a shop and think, ‘oh my God, there's nothing that fits me in this shop.’” Jacobs said. "That can be quite a barrier to accessing fashion. And if you've never experienced that you can't really speak to it”
Jacobs, having studied costume at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and worked for many theatrical productions and fashionable clients, is the perfect example of how mid-sized men make valuable contributions to the fashion world. It's about time the fashion world embraced them accordingly.
András Jacobs' content hopes to help people along with their journey to self-love and body positivity. And if there’s one thing that Jacobs would like his viewers to know about that journey, it's that it’s not linear. One doesn't always have to be at a point where they love their body, and even Jacobs himself has his ups and downs. That's why his account is a safe space for him and his followers to grow together.
“I thought for a long time that people really did wake up and go ‘I love my body today.’ I don't think that many people do, if anyone does, actually do that. So yeah, just being neutral about it and being okay with it. I'm being like, ‘yeah, this is me and I like me and that's fine.’ And also, you will have days where you feel better about yourself than other days.” Jacobs said.
“You expect the people that are talking about it to be like, oh, they've finished their journey and they have all the answers and I need to be like them. When you don't. We're just arrogant enough to film ourselves talking about it." He laughed. "We're exactly the same as everyone else.”
By bringing attention to overlooked size ranges in men’s clothing and encouraging others in those ranges to express themselves through fashion, Jacobs is pushing the boundaries of who and what is normally considered "stylish" and "acceptable" in fashion. Another way he does this is by breaking the gender binary in clothing with his expertly-composed outfits.
For a long time, it has only been socially acceptable for a person to wear the items of clothing traditionally associated with their sex assigned at birth.
Jacobs recognizes how constricting categorizing fashion by gender can be and encourages his followers to resist other people’s definitions for them. In one of his Tik-Tok posts, he shows off a white dress that he pairs with bottoms, shoes, and a bag before reminding the viewer not to be afraid to shop in both the men's and women's sections.
He elaborated on this philosophy in his interview with Burghàlie.
“It gives you so much more room. When a shop is curated by the people that work there, the visual merchandisers, the designers, whoever, you're relying on somebody else's choices to define then what you're wearing. Which is sort of odd because you wouldn't let someone in the street turn up to you and go, 'you shouldn't be wearing those jeans.' So that's a bit of an odd concept.” Jacobs said. “Also, it's an object. Like, you didn't have a men's sofa section. It doesn't have a gender until you gender it. [Clothes are] just made to fit a body, and if it fits your body then it works.”
In the end, Jacobs puts more representation of bigger body types in the media we consume. His Instagram and Tik-Tok accounts are the way he infuses more representation into the internet, but his impact goes far beyond that.
Jacobs is on the cover of T.H. Compton’s novel Beautifully Built, becoming a symbol not just for the gay romance that the book narrates but for the mid-sized main protagonist who makes half of that romance.
Furthermore, he increases representation in real life by inspiring people with body types underrepresented in fashion to make themselves and their style seen in public. To Jacobs, his social media presence is less about flaunting his own sense of style and more about encouraging other people with underrepresented body types to show off their own.
“If it inspires two people that go ‘I didn't really like it [his outfit], but if he’s having fun getting dressed in the morning I can have fun getting dressed in the morning,'” Jacobs said. “That’s what it's all about.”