The sorting system at a typical clothing store begins with gender. The segregation is spatial, with Women’s section occupying this space, Men’s that space, the division clearly marked so Julio doesn’t embarrass himself. In these gendered spaces, products will be further sorted by apparel type (eg. sweaters, skirts, lounge wear, suits, shoes), which are then arranged systemically by sizes. Some other classifications include event (eg. bridesmaid, prom, beach party) or style (eg. J. Crew’s “Style At Every Age” campaign, which explicitly matches fashion sensibility with age group).
Are such gendered spaces necessary? What’s their function? Julie already wears her boyfriend’s jeans, boxers, and button downs, why not make it easier for her to continue her style after he dumps her? Do we really need to tell Jimmy that his package isn’t going to fit well in those red thongs? My favorite pair of sweat pants was a boot-cut “Women’s” pair (discontinued) from Club Monaco that form fit perfectly and didn’t make me look like a slob, as Men’s sweatpants usually do to men. I’d pair it with a soft and thin tail-less button down and accessorize with a simple canvas messenger bag and a well-trained Siberian Husky for a comfy lounge-ware look good enough to get me great service wherever I went shopping.
At The Privileged Poor, we’re going to see what happens when we get rid of gender distinctions and stop sorting by apparel and size and instead organize clothing and accessories by identity. Ironic identities. For instance:
*The Bourgeois Bohemian
*The Pretentiously Frugal
*The Over-Educated Dirtbag
*The Redneck Poseur
*The Privileged Poor
*The Fraternity/Sorority Hippie
We provide the pieces, re-branded in our own fucked up way. Where does that thick 1989 Bud Bowl T-shirt go, to the Redneck Poseur or the Fraternity/Sorority Hippie? The tagless soft cotton button down from who knows when and where, to the Bourgeois Bohemian or the Pretentiously Frugal? We don’t know, but wherever they end up, it’ll be the customer’s opportunity to explore the possibilities and put together an outfit, a persona — an *identity* — that enters and disrupts the narratives of migration, alienation, and belonging. We want customers to feel like immigrants, so they can reclaim their immigrant heritage.