June is Pride Month, and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking with some of our favorite queer-owned and queer-run brands to highlight their missions and their favorite products.
We had the chance to speak with Emma McIlroy, the founder of Wildfang, an inclusive, kick-ass fashion company that began in Portland, Oregon around 2013. She told us “it all started in the men’s department of an Urban Outfitters, actually.”
“My friend and I were walking around Urban Outfitters—my friend wanted a great blazer and I wanted a graphic tee. All the graphic tees in the women’s section were soft, floral and scoopy-necked,” Emma said. “Well this sucks.”
She said that she ended up finding her perfect graphic tee in the men’s section, and her friend found a great blazer, too.
“We were left thinking, Is this for real? Why does gender have anything to do with a great blazer or a tee shirt? We started thinking about certain silhouettes that had been gendered, and why half the population didn’t have access to great styles.”
Ultimately, Emma said, “Wildfang exists to tackle gender norms through fashion. There are so many ways we’ve been held back and forced into a box. Clothing is inherently gender neutral and nonbinary. We’ve placed all this baggage into it—and we just say fuck that.”
As for one of Emma’s favorite styles, it has to be Wildfang’s Essential Coverall.
“When we set out to make these, the coveralls that were in the marketplace were either really heavy or badly made. Ours is neither of those things. We don’t expect you to do a 12-hour workday in it. We didn’t want to put it on and make us feel like we’re wearing a trashbag. We wanted it to look really cool. There was no one doing that intersection of quality and fashion, and our coveralls last, too.”
“Ours have a little bit of stretch in it and best of all you’re dressed in 60 seconds. It’s super versatile and it looks cool as hell (especially with some Air Force Ones).”
Emma said Wildfang is going to keep expanding, keep creating and keep smashing. “We want to smash all the gender norms that exist in the department store,” she said, “and we’re going to continue to do just that.”
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