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TalaMade wants you to rethink what androgynous fashion actually means

Words by Anthony Graetz

Read between the blurred lines.

Up-and-coming 21-year-old fashion designer, Tala Surace, is challenging the traditional definition of androgyny.

“I think at times, the fashion industry takes a more masculine approach when discussing androgyny, whereas my label goes in the other direction.”

And she’s right. The intersection between fashion and gender over history has long consisted of the right for women to wear men’s clothing. Only in the last few years, where the whole notion of binary gender has been overturned, has true androgyny begun to filter into the mainstream fashion consciousness.

Completely androgynous and totally theatrical, Tala’s label, TalaMade, is a streetwear line heavily influenced by Gothicism. Focused on the decades of punk rebellion in the late twentieth century, her designs are a nod towards different generations and their defiance against ‘the man’. Literally.

“I wanted to make a platform that allows people to be both creative and different,” Tala says. “I’m taking the attitude of opposing political turmoil and making it modern.”

Growing up, genderless fashion played a huge role in Tala’s personal style as she dressed in oversized men’s streetwear.

“I was never into girl’s clothing,” she laughs. “My sense of style was experimental and I was always looking to push the boundaries.”

Evolving from a personal style to a clothing label, TalaMade released its first collection eight months ago, 100K ZONE, which is completely genderless. The drop featured a range of various black pieces which scream chic-BDSM.

“The gothic references come from my own personal style,” she says. “Gothicism is about rejecting what it is to be normal. It’s about not caring what people think, no matter how different you may be.”

100K ZONE is unique as it hints towards both masculine and feminine qualities. Although featuring baggy and oversized garments, there are also tighter fitting pieces which highlight the contours of all body types along the gender spectrum.

“Even though we see a lot of masculine approaches when discussing androgyny, I wanted my collection to branch away from that and completely blur the lines together.”

“I wanted to show that genderless fashion is up for interpretation; it can go in either a masculine or feminine direction, depending on the individual.”

From sketching the garments to sourcing the fabrics herself, the young entrepreneur is passionate about creating a narrative and expressing it through her designs.

“Each sketch is different because each narrative is different,” Tala says. “Also, I guess the outcome of my designs depend on how I feel when I woke up that day,” she laughs.

Tala was asked to debut her label, TalaMade, at Fashion Week’s Highrise Runway on Thursday night, among a litany the festival’s most cutting edge contemporary designers. She showed pieces from 100K ZONE as well as glimpses of her upcoming collection, 100K UNLIMITED.

“I was so nervous when they asked me to showcase my label but I was more excited,” she says. “To be honest, I’m just really interested in seeing the response from audiences. It’s about creating a platform in this industry and feedback is so important.”

Now in the spotlight, Tala intends to grab it while she can.

“In five years I would love TalaMade to have its own store,” she says. “I know it’s a little ambiguous but I’ve got a dream and I need everyone to see it.”

“I just want this platform to continue to encourage people to be themselves, even if it’s not living up to social standards. Nowadays, being normal is just so overrated.”

Visit TalaMade’s website here.

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