To test run a gender-neutral high-end boutique, graduate student of graphic design, Zac Moore, is launching “Out-fitters” in the Personal Gallery on Thursday May 3 from 4-6 p.m.
This project was funded by an ISU Art Gallery grant proposal for $500. The grant funded the racks and other hardware for the pop-up store but Moore has also put his own money into the project.
“The goal of the project is to provide students with gender free clothing. To offer free and accessible androgynous and gender inclusive options that better reflect peoples’ personal gender identities,” Moore said.
The clothes were donated and are available for free at the launch and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day until Friday May 11.
“It’s presented in a way that is like a high-end boutique and not a traditional Salvation Army or Goodwill style so that it makes these people feel important and valued so that is a designed experience. This is all focused to express that they are normal and they can have access to the same experiences that traditionally gendered people do,” Moore said.
Moore said that he believes that a lot of people don’t feel represented and included and that this project is to give those people a place to be who they are.
“Clothes don’t change the world but the person that wears them might,” Moore said. “I don’t care who you are, when you put on a suit, you act and carry yourself differently and people will treat you differently. It’s the same as when you wear a T-shirt or a scarf. What you wear affects how you go through the world and how you are treated. Allowing people to feel comfortable with what they wear allows them the confidence to feel better and express themselves more freely.”
Moore said that there is research to back that misrepresented people will act and feel different when they are unable to express themselves. When they can express themselves they have lower risks of mental heath issues, and are more likely to make better decisions.
“The idea is not new. There are places in San Francisco and Chicago that cater specifically to queer people but this is the first one here in the area designed to provide this kind of experience at such a high-end aesthetic,” Moore said. “I was inspired a lot by a class that focuses on public health and public art and how art can influence the way we live and our decision-making. That helped me to design how the project works and how I go about accomplishing my goals.”
Moore hand-designed the tags and bags with a stamp to make the store as polished as he wanted.
“All of the design is very intentional,” Moore said. “In using the typeface, it was designed in such a way that it doesn’t have a gender. The drybrush script that I use is firm but it is still handwritten which is both masculine and feminine which is telling of the project. Branding is very important and designers are like the gatekeepers to branding. We get to decide what things look like and why they are effective. Using the black and white is a play on the gender binary and using these colors allows people to read it as masculine or feminine as they want. The grey represents the mix or the androgyny.”
The clothes left over will be used in the next iteration of the pop-up shop. Moore’s goal is to have an event at the fountain in the fall semester and involve more people. He is also looking into a partnership with the textiles, apparel and merchandising program to create ready-to-wear pieces that are intentionally androgynous in nature.
“If your gender doesn’t conform, why should your clothes?” Moore said.