Pushing boundaries is an inherent part of Equipment. It was 1976 when the brand opened a salon in Paris, France, offering a selection of womenswear that didn’t have a clear delineation between what was masculine or feminine. Great fashion, regardless of gender tropes, was the objective, and over the decades, the company has built upon this reputation, accruing a loyal following of women who are particularly taken by its slick, airy button-downs.
Today, Equipment is taking this ethos a step further, launching a completely gender-fluid line for the spring 2020 season. To ensure the company is adhering to protocol, CEO James Miller enlisted The Phluid Project, a New York–based label that has pioneered the way fashion is marketed to shoppers.
“A gender-fluid offering is an inherent progression for the brand—and a testament to its timeless and universal appeal,” Miller said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have found a partner as unique as The Phluid Project to not only guide us in this journey, but also enable our company to align our values with a movement that is so fundamentally important to our industry and the future of fashion.”
Indeed, many designer brands in the past few years have taken great strides in tearing down stereotypes: silk blouses for men at Gucci, three-piece suits for women at Max Mara, and the same looks for both genders at Balenciaga. They have also showcased women’s looks at Men’s Fashion Week, and vice versa. The Phluid Project, however, eschews gender-dividing pronouns completely, providing the same styles for shoppers that may identify as male, female, a combination of both, or none altogether. With its upcoming collection, Equipment is following suit.
“Normalizing and celebrating clothing [that] is without binary constraints is [the] recognition of a demographic who do not live, nor shop within gender boundaries,” said Rob Smith, founder and CEO of The Phluid Project, in the same statement. “Equipment is an iconic French brand, one whose aesthetic has remained classic, timeless and reminiscent of an androgynous style [that] the French do so well. By working with The Phluid Project, the world’s first gender‐free retailer, as a strategic partner, Equipment gains insight into, and education about, the targeted non‐binary and trans demographic.”
Equipment created a range of shirts—from polka-dot and floral silk tops to navy and black cotton pieces—along with complimentary trousers that were inspired by the brand’s archives. The silhouettes are cut loose and sleek, intending to fit a myriad body types. And with Smith and his team having steered the collection in the right direction, a myriad self-identifiers too.