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“I would like to see anybody wearing my clothes, and I do mean anybody.”
— Claire Fleury, a clothier who creates clothes for all genders
When a buddy of mine was looking for her marriage ceremony look a number of years again, she wished a pointy, tailor-made swimsuit. She went to a well-known males’s clothier in New York’s Financial District, whose workers finally laughed her out of the shop, a humiliation she nonetheless carries along with her.
Today, her choices could be plentiful by comparability as extra mainstream clothes corporations swiftly rise to satisfy the calls for of a altering cliental — providing gender-bending, gender-fluid and gender-neutral clothes. As Ken Downing, the style director of Neiman Marcus, as soon as advised The Times: “What we’re seeing now is a seismic shift in fashion, a widening acceptance of a style with no boundaries — one that reflects the way young people dress.”
Market analysis helps that shift, displaying adjustments in factors of view on gender amongst Gen Z customers. Some 38 % of this group, born in 1995 and after, stated they “strongly agree” that “gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to,” as my colleague Ruth La Ferla reported final week.
Also, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a trade group of about 500 leading American designers, last year added the first unisex and nonbinary category to the New York Fashion Week calendar.
Of course, unisex (and androgenous, for that matter) are not new terms when it comes to fashion. Women, particularly those with taller and slimmer builds, have long been able to shop for men’s clothes. But for curvaceous women (like my friend), men who want to escape rigid masculine aesthetics and transgender people who may be adapting to a changing body, choices have been all but nonexistent.
Not to mention how winding through the men’s and women’s sections in traditional stores can be an exercise in anxiety and awkwardness for L.G.B.T.Q. people. Even Uniqlo and Muji, known to offer more gender-free looks, and H&M and Zara, which have presented gender-neutral items, continue to divide garments into men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’.
The Phluid Project, an outpost of gender-neutral fashion in Lower Manhattan, and shops like it have no gender-based sections. “The style is all about identity and unfettered self-expression,” said Rob Smith, its founder.
The movement has also grown to offer parents more options to dress their children — standing in contrast to the recent phenomenon of “gender reveal parties.” In November, for example, the singer Celine Dion, who has three kids, unveiled a line of gender-neutral children’s clothing. “The message I’m trying to get across is, you raise your children the way you want to raise your children,” Dion said.
But those kids’ clothes don’t come cheap (hoodies can cost $80 or more) and neither do their adult counterparts. A gender-neutral item from Phluid Project, Chromat, Wildfang, Official Rebrand, Hirsuit Swim and Radimo, among others, can easily cost $80 or more.
One reason: These brands are often bootstrapped endeavors, MI Leggett, the owner of Official Rebrand, told Mashable last year. “As L.G.B.T.Q. designers, we need to learn how to value ourselves,” Leggett said. “We don’t have big companies helping us; we just have to advocate for ourselves.”
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ICYMI: ‘She was an original boss.’
Last week in Chicago, city leaders, dignitaries, activists and residents gathered to celebrate the renaming of Congress Parkway as Ida B. Wells Drive, making it the city’s first major street to bear the name of a black woman.
“She spoke truth to power and changed the landscape of Chicago and the world,” Alderman Sophia King told The Chicago Tribune of Wells, one of the nation’s most influential investigative reporters. “It’s bittersweet that it’s has taken so long. But we are here.”
“Pantsuits may be today’s fashion fad, but tomorrow they will be a permanent part of a woman’s wardrobe” was the opening sentence in a 1966 Times article titled “The Pants Suit People State Their Case Ubiquitously,” and the prediction certainly holds up.
I’m not just talking about Hillary Clinton, either. Last week at the Grammys, Miley Cyrus rocked a black pantsuit, one of many stars to don the look recently. But back in 1966, women commandeering traditionally masculine apparel pushed plenty of boundaries.
“I wear them shopping, on planes, in restaurants, in bars — everywhere,” one woman said. “I’d even wear them to church if I could.”
“Eventually women will wear them as they do suits; it will become classic,” said another.
The irony: In the article, these women were identified only by their husband’s names, Mrs. Malcolm Warner and Mrs. Edward Kaufman, an artist and the woman in the photo above.
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