In the past couple years, Zara, American Apparel, and Gap have all responded to customers' increasingly non-binary and genderqueer presentations by launching their own gender non-conforming clothing lines. But take a moment to peek at the Zara line launched a few months ago, and I’m sure you’ll agree it was hardly groundbreaking:
While these brands use progressive labels like “gender-neutral,” "ungendered" and “unisex” to describe their lines, in Zara's case, I think “shapeless mess of clothing garbage” is more appropriate. Too harsh? I’m not the only one!
Not to mention, these models are what we've come to expect from traditional fashion lines: cis, white, gender normative, and skinny as hell.
The point? It’s misguided for brands to think that folks who are re-imagining traditional gender presentations want to walk around in a bland, baggy uniform that renders them more invisible than they’ve previously been. If the future is genderless and genderless looks like Gattaca—let’s make a new flight plan.
But fear not! This week I learned about a new online department store in the works that plans to do genderqueer clothing right.
The store, which is being dubbed Harridan Township, is the brainchild of Mary Going, who received earlier acclaim for launching Saint Harridan, a masculine clothing line for women and transmen. After the launch Going heard from people in the queer and non-binary communities who wanted a clothing line specifically for them—and the idea for the shop was born.
Going recently launched a Kickstarter to raise money for what she's billing as a store for all gender queer folks. If funded, it will feature five different labels, each with its own personality (some feminine, some masculine, some a mix.) The names of the labels give a feel for the kind of items they'll include—for example, Mr. Mary, Button Row, and Love, Jeffrey.
“We are not gender neutral. We are gender excited, gender experimental, gender queering,” the Kickstarter page promises.
Harridan Township's universal sizing system will dispense with classic women sizes (0-24) and male sizes (28-42). Instead, its sizing will be based off of different body shapes, and the store will offer a questionnaire to help assess individual sizing for garments.
At the time of publication, the Kickstarter has raised $34,000 of its target $250,000 goal. The campaign closes in less than a month, so if you're looking for a non-potato sack option for yourself, now you know where to send your money!
Cleo Stiller is a digital producer covering the intersections of sex, tech and culture. Words to live by: get your money's worth.