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Unisex Brand Canada: Four Labels Diversifying Fashion - FLARE

Read on for four homegrown fashion brands that are challenging modern definitions of what gender blurring looks like. Broke & Living (Photo: Nicole Simmons, Models: Jamila Amarah & Danian Walker, Stylist: Charlene Akuamoah, Hair: Meghan Prosper, Makeup: Jamila Amarah) As the all-Black female design team behind the buzzy online brand Broke & Living, Charlene Akuamoah, Meghan Prosper and Nicole Simmons are pushing boundaries through their edgy, genderless clothing, while also diversifying the industry behind the scenes. “It’s very rare to see women of colour—or three Black women—helming a clothing brand,” says Akuamoah, explaining that she and her colleagues are constantly having to carve out their own space in the fashion industry. “We’re the last people in the room that anyone would expect to be designers,” adds Prosper. “But I feel like it’s more inspiring than anything.” Akuamoah, Prosper Simmons met in college when they were all working as stylists part-time while completing their fashion management and journalism degrees. They began creating accessories together and writing about fashion, music and culture on their blog. The three friends were all in Prosper’s mom’s basement one day when they decided to start a genderless clothing brand, calling it “an organic next step” in their creative process. “We often shop in the men’s department, so it’s just natural to us,” says Simmons, “and that’s the way clothing should be.” The trio wanted to create clothing for themselves, but also for people of all genders, body types and races. For example, they recently released a traditionally feminine mesh dress , which they styled in their campaign imagery on both men and women to show how versatile it is. “We’re trying to push the boundaries when it comes to genderless clothing” says Simmons. “It’s easy to just keep everything uniform and create boxy items that fit both men and women.” Andrew Coimbra Fall 2018 (Photo: Royal Gilbert, Model: ÉMile (Folio), Styling: Chad Burton (Plutino), Makeup and Hair: Mark Gonzalez) Andrew Coimbra is *over* gendered fashion.

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