Looking for gifts this holiday season? Try this gender-neutral clothing store

The Phluid Project clothing store in NYC

The Phluid Project, a clothing store in New York City, has a sign on its front window that says it is the “world’s first gender-free clothing store.”

Located on Broadway near Washington Square Park, at firt glance it appears to be a conventional, and notably trendy, clothing store filled with soft leopard print maxi skirts, Converse Pride sneakers, and racks of jackets and sweatpants. 

Some items feature slogans that promote queer history and unity. Other garments have unique features, like pants with wider hips for transfeminine people, who are starting their medical transition. Estrogen and T blockers redistribute fat, helping hips and thighs grow the same way they do during cisgender girl puberty.

The Phluid Project sells gender-neutral clothing for anyone who wants to wear it, particularly people who identify as trans or non-binary. The store’s curators wanted to provide clothing that would help these shoppers look, and feel, authentic and comfortable. For example, besides avoiding gender norms, shoppers also will not have to look for the “plus size” section. There isn’t one. Instead, clothing is organized by type.

“The ‘Ph’ in The Phluid Project is like the pH balance you read about in science,” brand manager Alex O’Hanley told GayCities. “It is the perfect balance between masculine and feminine energy.”

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The company also prioritizes visibly genderqueer or gender non-conforming people as employees, which is always a welcome sight, as people outside of the gender binary often have trouble finding reliable employment.

Hiring a diverse staff is not the only way The Phluid Project supports the queer community in Manhattan and globally. They hold community events to showcase fashion designs and other work for queer-owned and minority-owned startups.

Part retail store, part community space, The Phluid Project also has a coffee bar. Parties, brand launches, and internships for at-risk youth are all part of the store’s regular activities.

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Phluid’s founder, Rob Smith, opened the store in March 2018, after working as an executive at brands such as Levi’s and Victoria’s Secret. Besides the brick and mortar store in New York, selections of the clothes are also sold online at thephluidproject.com.

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