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Converse has launched a genderless apparel range that entirely rethinks sizing

WORDS BY ANNA RICHARDS

Buy based on style, not size.

Even in 2020, the overwhelming majority of the fashion industry seems to have an unshakeable commitment to the gender binary, and its traditional sizing models. Short of being outdated, it means huge swathes of people are not represented, not included, not engaged. From a purely business perspective, it also means huge numbers of people are not likely to purchase.

Meanwhile, some clever brands are totally rethinking how we approach concepts like sizing and gender in fashion. Take Converse, who has this week dropped a debut collection of clothing that shows just how unnecessary these restrictions can be.

The brand has released a genderless, seasonless, sizeless clothing line titled Shapes, marking a rejection of the fashion industry’s status quo. For the collection, Converse has dispensed with the gender labels of the fashion industry, as well as the traditional sizes that sit on each side of this binary. Instead, it’s opted for a collection that is more inclusive of our bodies.

The collection comes in four un-numbered ‘sizes’. Instead of a traditional letter or numbering system, each ‘size’ is marked by the addition of a single stripe – one stripe is the smallest option, four stripes is the most expansive.

Similar to the “one size fits most” model of design, each ‘size’ is built to accommodate a range of industry-standard sizes. The idea is that wearers can choose how they want the final pieces to sit on their bodies – be it oversized or more slimline – without so much concern over whether the clothing will actually make it over (or not fall off) their hips.

Of course, labels can be useful for knowing how a product will fit us in the first place. For clarity, the four options accommodate XXS to XXL in both traditional men’s and women’s sizing. There are also further details listed on the Converse website to help you navigate the range, should you need it.

This includes a preview of how each size looks on a different body type. Unlike traditional e-commerce, where the product is only depicted on a single, sample-size model, each item is shown on no less than eight (!!!) different models. The height, weight and measurements of each model are also listed alongside.

There are five core essentials in the range: a classic short sleeve tee, a more boxy style tee, a bubble-style crewneck jumper, a triangle-front chino and a hoodie.

 

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@kirapuru is a multi-disciplinary artist and musician based in Melbourne, Australia known for her dynamic performances and genre-defying writing style. Kira is of Maori descent and is vocal about championing change in the community. She believes labels can be toxic and harmful, especially for marginalized communities but also can be useful and powerful in terms of plotting your own individual identity. “As a plus sized brown woman, people are often surprised that I make such bratty sounding pop music, I think they expect me to be some sort of soul or R&B musician.” “I’d say that my communities, both online and off, are filled with people from such diverse backgrounds and experiences. I really enjoy holding space where people feel like they can have critical conversations, and actively disagree with me or each other in a safe space.” Check out more about Kira in our Stories! #ConverseAllStars

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Each piece is constructed with extra seams, pleats and gussets, allowing for extra movement and flexibility for the wearer. The Box Tee, for example, can be bought to sit loosely over your outfit, or as a more fitted essential. Similarly, the Triangle Pullover Hoodie (a personal favourite) can sit as forward flowing or slightly structured, depending on the size you choose.

The expanding shoulder pleats on The Bubble Crew sweatshirt let it sit naturally on the wearer, accommodating a wider range of body (or bust) types. It suits a relaxed look, but the careful structuring of the piece allows it to be worn a more carefully styled, elevated way.

The brand has also been inclusive with its pricing, with pieces ranging between $50 and $100 a pop.

The entire range is also made from a sustainable blend of 50 per cent recycled and 50 per cent organic cotton, to minimise the collection’s environmental impact. Colours have also been selected for wearability and longevity, limited to black, white and olive.

Consider this in light of the brand’s ongoing Renew series that uses recycled and repurposed materials for new Chucks, as well as its commissioning of public art to break down air pollutants, and Converse is showing a real commitment to sustainability.

The brand clearly wants to free us of the restrictions that gender and size labels can burden us with. Instead we can prioritise other factors – like the way a piece might sit against another, or whether we want flow or structure – giving us proper freedom to express ourselves, size be damned.   

Shop the ‘Shapes’ range here.

converse.com.au

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