Working a New Look: 11 Designers, Curators and Stylists Who Are Queering Fashion

These 11 individuals are among those making sure that personal style is less rigid, more expressive and avidly accessible to those who deserve to be served in style.

PHOTO: ERADA SVETLANA FOR WE ARE MORTALS

ANJI BECKER
We Are Mortals: Artist and Gender Visionary

A former educator who moved from Wisconsin to California to pursue a career in fashion, Anji Becker has always been passionate about equity and inspiring change in future leaders. So when she began conceptualizing her brand and felt pressure to choose between designing wear specific for men or for women, Becker decided to challenge traditional gender norms, and We Are Mortals began its quest to promote gender fluidity by focusing on androgynous designs.

“I feel that the whole concept of gender is really an irrelevant human invention that isn’t really based on anything real,” Becker said of her decision.

Where many brands are designing clothing for people of the era, We are Mortals approaches personal style as a form of artistic impression and not a means to categorize individuals. Forward-thinking in thought, Becker’s pieces are avant-garde designs of clothing not just for who people are now, but who they’ll be in the future.

PHOTO: CHARISE ASH

EMMA MCILROY
Wildfang: CEO and Master of Simplicity

Portland-based brand Wildfang is behind those wildly popular Wild Feminist T-shirts that have been making the rounds at women’s marches, in fashion spreads, across celebrity chests and on the Internet.

“Gender roles don’t make any sense to us and it’s evident in today’s society that they don’t make sense to so many people,” owner Emma McIlroy said. “When we look at the stats, we are inspired by Gen Z and the fact that they will be the most diverse generation in this country with more than 50 percent coming from a minority race and more than 50 percent identifying as not straight. There’s going to be a huge shift, and we want to be a part of that movement. We were people who challenged rules as kids, and continue to do so as adults. If rules don’t make sense to you, you should break them.”

The queer-owned lifestyle company has two storefronts, as well as a bustling online store boasting blazers and button-ups that are tailored for women’s bodies without being exclusively feminine. Their carefully cultivated community has created a revolutionary movement for more radical and inclusive women’s clothing.

“We only exist to serve our community,” McIlroy said. “Without them we’re nothing; they’re at the heart of what we do. We never set ourselves out to be a political brand, but if our community feels strongly about something, we will support them. That’s where we get our inspiration and values from. It’s important to stand up for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. If you don’t have something to say, you’re on the wrong side of history.”


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