Like it or not, fashion is a major part of our daily lives. Even if you don’t think it does, the clothing you wear says a great deal about you, including how much you earn, where you come from, and how you identify yourself. For the most part this can open the gateway for a great deal of fun and experimentation, allowing you to take on one form or another as you see fit.
But for some, the simple act of shopping for clothing, which should be an enjoyable experience, can be an uncomfortable experience. Tatyana Bellamy-Walker, who identifies as gender fluid, says that a trip into a clothing store can be less than enjoyable, and even land up being a total nightmare. Walker explained that the many stares of judgement are an issue, and are rife when it seems like someone is entering into a department of the store that is not acceptable in the perceptions of some.
But it is this exact situation that has given rise to the gender fluid fashion industry, which has come a long way in the past few years. The result being, of course, those those like Walker now have a much wider section to shop in comfortably.
The Gender Fluid Fashion Struggle
Everyone should feel comfortable in every aspect of their life, whether they are sitting at home playing online slots, or out and about having fun in public wherever they may find themselves in the world, whether it is Canada, Ireland, or anywhere of their choice. This is the philosophy behind stores such as Rebirth Garments and Phluid Project that specialise in fashion for those who prefer a gender fluid shopping experience. The only challenge is that prices in such stores tend to vary drastically, limiting options for those who don’t have a big budget. Plus, not having as big an audience as some other bigger designers, the brands tend to struggle to stay afloat.
According to MI Leggett, owner of gender fluid brand Official Rebrand, efforts are made to include everyone. A closer look at some of the items offered by the store will see t-shirts that do indeed range between around $15 to $20, but also some jackets that will cost a whopping $1,500. So why the massive price spikes on some items?
Truly Gender Neutral Challenges
In an interview, Leggett described years spent designing gender specific clothing in Berlin in 2016. But after returning to the United States Leggett explained that a decision was made to use the overseas experiences to start something truly revolutionary. Thus, Official Rebrand was born. The idea is, Leggett stated, not to just design gender-neutral clothing, but take clothing that was once gender specific, and make it neutral. This is done via simple tweaks and adjustments, such as making t-shirts a more generic size, that both men & women are able to don them.
The challenge comes in, Leggett went on, from the fact that these smaller fashion brands do not get outside funding or help from bigger companies. This means that all marketing is done in-house, which is primarily based on funds available. Of course, smaller designers don’t have the deep pockets of those recognised globally, which is a situation that speaks for itself.
Likewise Sky Cubacub, a designer who also focuses on gender fluid fashion as well as clothing items for the disabled, faces a similar problem. Cubacub explained that although every effort is made to keep the clothing affordable, that costs are simply overwhelming with certain items. Cubacub explained that, very simply, the more colours and fabrics involved, the higher the costs are, and that is the simple reality of the situation.
So as it stands, although the gender fluid fashion industry is growing, that there are challenges that must be overcome. Hopefully the coming years will see these designers flourish in a world that needs them.