*With Inputs from Sasha
As queer individuals, almost all of us have experienced the struggle of entering a clothing store with a distinct Men’s and Women’s section. You don’t know which section to proceed to and eventually decide to visit the section which doesn’t align with your physical self, only to receive disapproving or bemused glances from the salespeople as they sheepishly inform you, “Madam, Ladies section uss side par hai.”
The upsurge in online shopping, and renewed attitudes towards ‘gender neutrality’ in fashion, in the past decade – has seemingly simplified the herculean task of buying new clothes. However, the most significant setback in the journey to really avail and take advantage of this pivot to embrace gender neutrality is, quite simply, the absence of accessible gender neutral spaces; be it clothing stores, nightclubs, support groups, medical care centres, or merely information hubs.
The arena of gender neutral fashion is still one in the making – which loosely translates to “It’s niche enough to be expensive.” It is essential to create avenues for affordable, relatively inexpensive pieces whilst maintaining a high standard of quality. An effort has been made to include some affordable choices here. Part of that accessibility is geographical accessibility, so it’s important to also note that the brands included in this list are local to India. Supporting local businesses helps achieve the twin goals of step living sustainably sustainability and expanding the impact of gender non-conformism and neutrality.
Here’s a list containing details of 6 Indian brands that either focus on or also offer gender neutral clothing:
Initiated by Harsh Kedia, House of Kedi is a clothing and personal care brand for individuals belonging to a diverse range of gender identities. Their products include, but are not restricted to, unisex shirts, trousers, jackets, and cosmetics, such as, bath salts and body butter.
Their garments are typically manufactured using high quality cotton, and flaunt a range of traditional Indian and other intricate prints. Whilst their prices are not mentioned alongside the products, it is safe to assume that their products are relatively inexpensive, since they’re produced and shipped locally.
Please note that all enquiries and purchase requests must be negotiated via their Instagram or Facebook DMs, since they do not have an official web page.
Generation Mixx, a refreshing revamp of the binary, is an online brand which aims to initiate a dialogue about gender equality.
Currently, Mixx has a selection of 2 unisex t-shirts, both of which boast empowering messages at the front: “Boys equal Girls” and “Human > Gender”. Soft, cotton jerseys with a fine round neck– the t-shirts are available in three sizes: small (S), medium (M) and large (L). Their website provides chest and length measurements for all three sizes, so you have complete information about which size would be a correct fit for your body type. Additionally, they do also boast a ‘Pride Drop’ collection of items on their website, that features cruelty-free goods for sale from various queer and queer friendly entrepreneurs.
Note: A drawback of Generation Mixx, apart from having a very narrow selection of items, is the higher cost – which ranges between ?999 – ?1100 for a single t-shirt.
Purushu Arie, a well-known designing brand, not only celebrates gender neutrality, but also concentrates on remoulding orthodox gendered ideas of traditional Indian clothing.
Their shop currently includes only 2 products – the first of which, is a Madras Khadi Sari, which fits approximately 4 different clothing sizes. The sari, priced at ?4,275, is a 100% handloom beige sari with a black cotton border, along with a Black “Madras” print in Thamizh typography. The second product, with a price of ?5,275, is a tailored handloom silk veshti – an off-white Tube-stitched silk veshti with a D-ring fastening, and a side pocket.
Pioneered by Ujjawal Dubey, Antar-Agni is a clothing brand, which believes in the expressive and story-telling abilities of fabric. While the clothes on the website seem to be categorized according to traditional understandings of gender, the majorly androgynous tailoring is pieced together, in the words of Dubey himself, to “balance the contradictions of structure versus flow, natural forms versus tailored asymmetry and gender.” In addition to their magnificent online presence, Antar-Agni has multiple stores throughout Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Dubai.
A vast majority of their clothes are produced using cotton – and include, but are not restricted to: scarves, pants, shirts, salwars and trousers. Placed towards the higher end of the spectrum, Antar-Agni’s pieces range from as low as ?4,800 to as high as?49,300.
Determined to unite people and their differences instead of impose limits on their expression, Two Point Two is an Indian clothing brand which aims to blend masculine and feminine clothing styles into a singular gender neutral form.
Their store flaunts a collection of vibrant, oversized clothing – which enables people to experiment with ideas, and express themselves, regardless of gender identity or sexuality.
Currently, their price range is not mentioned on their website. However, they have an online form available for potential clients – where negotiations/inquiries can be furthered. In addition, you could contact them via email or phone, in case you’d like to reach out to them personally.
An avant-garde project, HUEMN’s pursuit to explore the unexplored, and to step outside conventional boundaries of art and fashion – resulting in their collection of non-binary clothing.
At the moment, their specifically non-binary clothing section consists of a meagre selection of 3 pieces – all of which are priced at ?6,500. Chic, fun and oversized – their gender neutral t-shirts, which bear typically gen z quotes, such as “Everyone Sucks” – can be an excellent addition to your wardrobe, especially for days when making the extra effort seems daunting. But, most of the clothes, however, bear no gender categorization and seem tailored for just about anyone.