The Phluid Project: Gender-Neutral Shopping
The Phluid Project – America’s first gender-free lifestyle store – opened this month in New York’s NoHo neighbourhood.
The shop sells clothes, make-up and lifestyle items that transcend traditional gender stereotypes. Owner Rob Smith’s mission is to “[create] a space where strangers, allies, friends – people – can be unapologetically themselves.”
Streetwear-inspired fashions are arranged by colour and style. Most are designed in-house with gender-free sizing, which runs from one to four instead of small to large (size one fits like a womenswear medium). Outfits are displayed on specially designed gender-free mannequins, which have a pronounced flat bust and narrow waist to present as either masculine or feminine.
Phluid also aims to position itself as a community hub for gender-curious customers. The back of the store features seating for events such as lectures and networking nights. For more on stores as culture coders and thought leaders, see Beta Blends in our Industry Trend Liquid Retail.
Customers can also purchase limited-edition garments and accessories featuring cartoon-style characters from local Brooklyn illustrator Jeremy Villesca, who also created an in-store mural depicting portraits of diverse New Yorkers.
For more on the rise of gender-neutral fashion and retail, see Diversity Rules (part of The New Fashion Landscape 2017), Zara Launches Gender-Neutral E-tail Category, John Lewis Goes Gender-Neutral and Brand Watch: Mother’s Gender-Neutral Agenda. For more on body-inclusive mannequins, see Progressive Fashion: February Round-Up.