Throughout history, gay people have used clothing as a way to express their identities, find community and make political statements. It's no wonder, then, that the queer fashion world is a veritable rainbow of styles and expressions. Gay men may choose to wear more feminine or androgynous styles while gay women can opt for tomboyish looks, flamboyant colours and garments featuring suggestive messages or images.
Historically, homosexuals have used clothing to communicate their identity in subtle ways, often through colours or the use of specific fabrics. For example, during the Oscar Wilde trial in Victorian Britain, homosexual men wore green carnations in their lapels as a way to identify themselves among other members of the group. Likewise, the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps served as a visual symbol of their persecution.
Gay men have also expressed themselves through the celebration of masculine aesthetics, with 'gym boys' and other gay subcultures favouring ripped jeans, Doc Martens and masculine-fit trousers as a sign of their gender identity (and their love for rock music). While it's unfair to stereotype cis male celebrities like Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift as being gay just because they sport dresses that diverge from heteronormative gendered norms, it is fair to say that the boundaries between queer and mainstream fashion are increasingly becoming blurred.
Pantone crowned Ultra Violet as its colour of the year, but according to online retailer Differio, purple has been the most popular colour for gay clothing for a long time now. Purple shirts, t-shirts and trousers are all in high demand among gay shoppers who want to add a touch of flamboyance to their closets.