In an interview with The Sunday Times, “Pose” star Billy Porter questioned Vogue’s decision to make Harry Styles their first male cover star, saying “he’s just [wearing a dress] because it’s the thing to do.”
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to,” Porter said. “I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”
“This is politics for me,” he continued. “This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
Styles has not described his gender expression in detail.
“I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation?” Porter said. “He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do.”
Styles wore a dress on the 2020 December cover of Vogue. In the November interview, when asked about his clothing choices he spoke about limitations.
“Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away,” he said. “When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything—anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself.There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never thought too much about what it means-it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
Styles has not responded to Porter’s comments.