Future Fashion: Fluid
For centuries, gender swayed fashion has been a prevalent societal norm. Luckily for, well, everyone, that notion is gradually changing. Both high fashion and streetwear labels are cutting/pasting/chopping and changing conventionally gendered garment traits to create hybrid-esque collections that are sticking it to The (Wo/)man.
Here is a list of local brands that are kicking ass at breaking down fashion barriers:
Oh, how magic unfolds when friends unite! Streetwear label Beau Beau is the lovechild of faraway friends, designer Paige Sher (CT) and designer-artist Jana Hamman (JHB). Paige founded minimalist clothing label, Paige Smith, while Jana makes up 50% of the dynamic Jana + Koos.
Beau Beau, pronounced “Boo Boo”, derived from the cutesy nicknames with which the pair don one another. The collection is made up of the kinds of clothing the pair want and need, and is inspired by their unique tastes and differences – but most importantly, the crossover of their similarities and friendship.
The range of all-black, contemporary wardrobe staples was “created with women in mind, but not exclusively for them” and consists mostly of sharp, strong silhouettes.
DICKER is a beautiful exploration and celebration of the androgynous aesthetic. Although the label is rooted in menswear, it’s undeniably genderless. DICKER was created by model-cum-designer, Armand Dicker, who believes that “genderless fashion can help to neutralise or balance society” and says, “if everyone wore the same kind of clothing, there’d be less sexism and discrimination.”
Since the label debuted in 2015 it’s been blurring gender lines by utilising both female and male swayed fashion trends in chic and striking ways. The label dons cropped cuts, elongated sleeves, tight-fit shorts, mohair, electric hues, and of course, the famous DICKER choker, worn by everyone and anyone in the know.
Young And Lazy
Young And Lazy started as a laid-back mens’ street & sportswear collection in 2009 and has gradually evolved into a high-end streetwear brand for both men and women. The transition from menswear to all-wear has been seamless; subtly positioning the brand as an all-inclusive playground. Amongst more masculine silhouettes, Young And Lazy has introduced more feminine cuts and hues to their menswear – and angular shapes and colours to their womenswear collections, in such a way that the two could easily overlap.
While founder Anees Petersen’s initial vision of simple, functional staples was never abandoned, the brand has freely opened themselves up to collaborating and experimenting with their aesthetic. This has made them one of South Africa’s favourite streetwear brands and an iconic symbol of local youth culture.
Artclub And Friends
Artclub and Friends emerged into the local “artwear”-cum-fashion scene in 2016, launched by Robyn Keyser. Her vision for the brand was inspired by local production, ethical design and creative collaboration, with a key focus on gender neutrality, body positivity and the representation of local youth culture.
The label is rich with masculine cuts translated into feminine hues and separate, genderless pieces, making it accessible to everyone and anyone. In an interview with our friends at 10and5, Robyn says: “As someone who’s worn men’s clothing for the majority of my life, I understand a small part of how clothing can suppress and contain you. In making gender neutral and free-fitting garments, I encourage my customers to buy what they love and not what they’re expected to love. Nothing is listed by gender.”
OH OK Worldwide
When Patrick Visser and Joni Blud started streetwear brand OH OK in 2017, they had a simple vision: to create something that felt sincere to them, that anyone could be a part of. They debuted with a dreamy, youthful lookbook, aptly named ‘Orange’. Since then, they’ve released their equally vivid YELLOW MELLOW lookbook.
The ready-to-wear label comprises of staples such as T-shirts, hoodies, jackets and shorts. And one thing the label has in common? All their garments are totally genderless, and modelled as such. Founders Patrick and Joni say they want everyone to feel welcome to be a part of the OH OK fam, no matter how they look/dress. Nailed it.
Latest on the local design scene is Sama Sama, meaning “you’re welcome” in Indonesian. The brand’s core intention is to offer “clothing designed to allow movement, unrestricted and with compassion for the body”.
Founder Kim Lardner-Burke says that growing up in brands like Mad Dogs and Naartjie inspired her to create lifestyle clothing; in which anyone can enjoy the freedom of comfortable, unique clothing that ignites good feelings. Sama Sama plays on creativity through details, which is characteristically carried through each design, specifically in its colourful embroidery. Although the brand offers gendered pieces, the majority of their designs overlap and criss-cross, making for a collection of elegant inclusivity.
All items are made locally, from natural fabrics like hemp, linen and cotton – and a whole lotta TLC. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Beau Beau | Jana + Koos Studio
DICKER | Charlemagne Olivier
Artclub And Friends | Hylton Boucher
Sama Sama | Leon Basler
Anyone we missed? Let us know in the comments below.