Topman, an offshoot of the internationally renowned clothing line Topshop, is sponsoring a female blogger for the first time in its 35 year history. Sonny Oram, founder of Qwear, identifies as a queer female whose wardrobe consists of menswear. Topman announced their new sponsorship in an interview with Oram, where she discussed how gender identity and sexuality helped inform her style.
She details how she prefers clothes that will hide her curves, but she shies away from the term “androgynous.” “Androgyny has grown to mean super skinny models with boyish frames, wearing oversized clothing,” she elaborates, “it's not really my look nor my body type.” Oram’s blog, which proudly states that it was started for queer women and trans* folks, has chronicled dapper clothing styles for all body types.
A week after announcing its sponsorship of Orman’s Qwear, Topman launched its first gender-neutral line, “Kate & Johnny.” “Kate and Johnny,” they explain, “are two people unified by one style that doesn’t conform to a specific gender. This unique concept is conveyed by their matching outfits – relaxed, effortless, yet still unmistakably sexy.” The line features pants, button down shirts, and casual clothing in sizes from XXS to XXL.
Topman’s sponsorship and Kate & Johnny line are important milestones, marking that major clothing companies are beginning to realize that gender isn’t binary and inspiring stores to start producing and marketing new products with this in mind. “One of my goals through Qwear,” Oram explains on her site, “was to shed light on all the women and female-assigned people buying men’s clothes in the hopes that brands would cater more to our bodies. Because of the growing community of queer and trans fashionistos, Topman now recognizes that their customers identities go beyond cis-men.”