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Tomboy style takes center stage as style embraces androgyny
It commenced, explains Emma McIlroy, the co-founder of an new tomboy-inspired online store and community, in the men’s department of a clothes shop. “I was observing a graphic T-shirt with an amazing picture of Kate Moss about it, Jules [Parsley, her co-founder] was observing a blazer and she or he said ‘Why don’t they get this stuff for us ‘” affirms McIlroy on the phone from Portland in the US. “That stuck inside our heads and it has already been a three-year journey involving testing the idea using consumers, testing the idea with brands to find out if the product was offered. But it started with a need, with us staring carefully at some males products that wouldn’t suit us.”
The website, Garment-Dyed Cotton Pique Twin Tipped Polo Shirt In White Wildfang, launches on Feb 5th and has already attracted a big response on the web, not least because the pre-launch internet site features a wonderful video starring, among others, the actor Kate Moennig and Hannah Blilie, your drummer from Chat, along with a voiceover through Parsley’s 86-year-old grandmother.
McIlroy and Parsley are generally adamant it isn’t a way trend – their tag line is “This isn’t just a shop. It’s a movement” – but a continuation that builds on generations of tomboys. “Whether you are Patti Smith, Lauren Hutton, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, your tomboy has always been with us,In . says McIlroy. “It’s much more compared to a style, there’s an frame of mind. Right now it’s a perfect time for us – we’ve seen androgyny and tomboy be a large story on the catwalks, we have seen Pinterest explode with tomboy content material and Tumblr explode along with tomboy blogs.”
Silpada Butchart, a fashion historian, agrees. “There can be a movement at the moment close to fashion playing with the idea of gender – the sexual category boundaries are becoming far more fluid. You have men and women like Andrej Pejic modelling equally menswear and womenswear, and also Casey Legler [a woman who has authorized as a male model].In .
Photograph: Lindsey Byrnes/Wildfang
In the last couple of years, a more androgynous aesthetic has infiltrated the catwalks (Stella McCartney’s jobs are the obvious example) and filtered down to high street shops, and it shows simply no sign of slowing. On the Dries Van Noten show in Paris recently, for example, the show was explained as “fused gender: Fred along with Ginger in one outfit”.
Might tomboy have the power to become a genuine culture, rather than a passing trend “Subcultures tend to be something generally for this post-war period up from the 90s,” claims Butchart. “A lot of people don’t think subcultures can exist anymore – it’s more the rise of niche markets and also the internet has been pivotal in that, so there is certainly more of a pick’n’mix attitude towards creating your individual look, more a focus on individuality than you are on a group look. So it will be quite unusual to locate something situating itself like a movement now. Stylistically, I don’t think it will be shortlived. These pieces have been circulating for a few years, and won’t be going anywhere fast.Inches
Wildfang co-founders Emma McIlroy and Jules Parsley. Photograph: Megan Holmes/Wildfang
I’ve always felt there is a giddy, liberating nature attached to tomboy style – that reminds me of the colorless dungarees of my the child years and those days, being an adult, when I elect to wear brogues over high heels and feel I can run and operate. And perhaps it is clunkingly obvious that it’s a refreshing remedy to the hypersexualised images of ladies we tend to be offered up. Taralyn Thuot, Wildfang’s creative representative, adds: “But I also feel totally strongly that we would like [the tomboy] to feel sexy, nevertheless we want her to be able to feel sexy because she is being herself rather than being a representation of the she thinks adult Garment-Dyed Cotton Pique Twin Tipped Polo Shirt In White men want her to be.”
• Wildfang launches about Friday and will be offering British shipping soon.
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