Did you know that half of Generation Z (those born roughly between 1995 and 2010) do not identify with being a specific gender? I didn’t know this, so during my last visit to New York, I visited The Phluid Project, the world’s first gender neutral retail space.
Set up in New York’s fashionable NoHo (North of Houston St) district, the Phluid Project occupies 3,000 sq ft of space, offering part commerce / part community space which is completely gender free. There is even a community room that is free to rent, as well as coffee and regular events.
Founder Ron Smith came up with the idea of The Phluid Project whilst travelling round the world, studying the world’s religions. The idea behind the concept was partly to address the needs of what he felt was a neglected global community, who didn’t identify with gender boundaries, and partly out of a desire to provide a space where individuals could have the freedom to find out who they really are and express themselves openly. Stocking a wide range of clothes from partners such as Levi’s, Soulland, Gypsy Sport and Skingraft, they also have their own line of clothing, none of which is specifically designed with gender in mind. And the movement seems to be catching on! Big-box retailers are taking note, with Zara having recently launched their line “Ungendered” and H&M doing the same with “United Denim”.
With its fun fit-out, diverse stock and lovely inclusive and fun atmosphere, New York will not be able to ignore The Phluid Project, and I suspect the rest of the world won’t either! Let’s hope they look to our shores soon.