When boys equal girls
A Mumbai-based initiative is taking the simple T-shirt to encourage the idea of a gender neutral world
The idea of a simple T-shirt as a canvas for a powerful social message is one that has endured over time and evolving fashion trends ever since it was first used in the 1948 US presidential campaign by Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey. Mumbai-based not-for-profit platform MIXX (Bemixx.com) is taking this idea of slogan T-shirts one step further. Their T-shirts are a calling card for their larger initiative which is to enable gender equality, sexual fluidity and androgynous style.
A collaboration between copywriter Ruchika Parab and designer Shruti Singhi, MIXX enters the larger conversation about gender and sexuality from a style and design perspective. Their campaigns, events and T-shirts are all about breaking the rigid binaries between male and female genders and their sexual preferences. They launched quietly last August with a Boys Equal Girls tee and a quirky zine which touched on everything from gender neutral parenting to a brief vocabulary of gender and sexuality.
This year, as the brand is beginning to up its ante, they have collaborated with brands like adidas, as well as the FC Goa football team to encourage girls playing football. They also had a small showing in collaboration with The Pot Plant, a Delhi-based conscious fashion label, as part of the gender bender showcase at the Lakmé Fashion Week which also featured brands like Bobo Calcutta, Anaam and Bloni, all of which offered unique perspectives on gender fluid clothing.
MIXX has also organized campaigns in support of the Mumbai Pride March and held workshops exploring the various aspects of gender in the workplace. Their newest line of T-shirts sports the slogan Humans>Gender on a blushing pink tee, a tongue-in-cheek play on this most gendered of colours. The accompanying photoshoot was disruptive: the T-shirts were modelled by friends, family and acquaintances who construct and navigate individual notions of gender and identity within the mainstream. The T-shirts they wore were ripped and torn, almost as a symbolic shredding of existing heteronormative identities.
MIXX T-shirts start at ₹999 and are available on Bemixx.com.