Genderless clothing is the new frontier in fashion. It’s a living, breathing, cat-walking attempt to make stylish clothes for all people — whether they subscribe to the gender binary or not.
Given our large and vibrant queer community, genderless fashion is a perfect match for Philly.
This week, local fashion house NINOBrand brought the concept home with the introduction of a new line of travel attire.
The collection, which was developed in collaboration with Kimpton Hotel group — and is officially called NINOBrand x Hotel Palomar — was made possible by Ian Michael Crumm, the 23-year-old Drexel grad who skyrocketed from being a local style blogger to a top fashion icon (299k Instagram followers, hello).
Crumm’s been working with Kimpton for about three years now on its forthcoming “Shop Like A Local” program, a Philly-specific guide for Hotel Palomar guests on where to eat, shop and go. Their mission to evolve traditional concierge service landed them on the doorstep of Philadelphia-based designer Bela Shehu, the mind behind NINO.
Designing across genders isn’t easy, but Shehu was up to the challenge.
“It had to be for women and men and it had to accommodate the shape and sizes for both,” Shehu said at a preview event for the five-piece line.
“The feeling is urban and metropolitan, and it’s designed for the person who’s on the go,” she said. “(Someone) who wants the outfit of the morning to carry them to the evening, never look underdressed, never overdressed.”
Is there a more “Philly” fashion goal? If so, we don’t know it.
Major brands like Zara and Project Runway All-Stars alum Fabio Costa’s label Not Equal are just a few big names getting in on the ground floor of genderless clothing lines. In fact, if you keep your eyes peeled for it, you’ll notice how mainstream fashion is becoming more and more of a gender blur. Take for example, Jaden Smith rocking a skirt as the new face Louis Vuitton.
Shehu always aims for her collections to be multi-culturally aware — i.e. look equally good on people of all colors — and to achieve that she uses fine lines, rich fabrics and a monochromatic palette of black and grays. This particular line goes even further in that it’s 100 percent genderless.
“It’s created for the city person,” she explained.
Stand out pieces from the collection include a gray unstructured coat with a wide hood and magnet buttons (you can wear it several different ways), and a pair of black, textured, high-waisted culotte pants.
Since the clothing is neutral to the extreme, “the best way to make the outfit really pop is with accessories,” said Crumm, nothing that also makes it great for travel.
“The collection is intended to be the perfect weekend wardrobe,” he said. “Perfect for packing light and still looking good.”
Look for NINOBrand x Hotel Palomar pieces at the NINOBrand store located on 333 S. 20th Street — available for viewing by appointment only (book online here). And starting Oct. 1, Hotel Palomar guests will be able to order the clothes delivered directly to their hotel rooms.