Topman’s ‘Kate and Johnny’ Unisex Collection Doesn’t Conform to a Specific Gender

Last week, we shared with our readers one of the biggest reasons why we’re loving Topman: They recently became a sponsor of Qwear, making Qwear’s founder the first female-assigned blogger ever to be recognized and supported by their company. And, our readers and staff love the fit of Topman’s apparel so much that we included Topman in our shop guide, which only features companies that cater to dapperQs. Well, now Topman has gone and done it again with their unisex Kate & Johnny collection. Here’s a short description from their website:

“KATE AND JOHNNY 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. FROM MEN’S SHIRTS AND COATS TO DENIM JACKETS AND VARSITY SPORTS TEES, THEIR STYLE SETS THEM APART FROM EVERYONE ELSE BUT BRINGS THEM CLOSER TOGETHER.”

The articles of clothing worn by the models in their campaign are from the same collection: no separate *women’s collection or *men’s collection within the Kate and Johnny line.

Kate and Johnny Topman II

Kate and Johnny Topman

 

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4 Comments

  • I am always struck by how androgyny, in a mainstream sense, seems to only swing one way: women wearing masculine clothes. Or, sometimes men wearing slimmer cuts of masculine clothes. I would have liked to see Topman’s new “unisex” collection have maybe a plain skirt or kilt in it, or a deep v neck tshirt or tank. Or a silk (or silk-ish) button up shirt. Something that skews a bit more “feminine”.

    This is not a criticism of dapper q at all – I am a huge fan. This is more of a comment on a broader scale that it is still not acceptable in the mainstream for men to wear clothes coded as feminine.

  • Taylor, I noticed that too.

    Real talk: I like Topman’s style, and as Taylor said, this comment isn’t a reflection of DapperQ, but rather my disappointment with the mainstream. I get why it’s awesome that Topman sells smaller sizes that fit queer bodies better – I’m a lanky transman who has to hunt for clothes with a fervor. But it’s too bad that in order to find and buy clothing that fits, it has to be at the expense of companies actual understanding of androgyny, and with no clear respect of queer and trans bodies and identities…

    I can’t help but notice that their website is contradictory. The quote shown in the article above speaks of no gender, but within the first paragraph of the ad on their website it states: “less is more with this sports inspired white tee with collegiate stripes, great for showing off boyfriend style”. This seems to be missing the mark. To me, this perpetuates the idea that a female identifying person cannot own their own masculinity without it being equated to her emulating her boyfriend (assuming she is straight) – which is a bit of a problem. How are we all dressing gender free if our clothes are merely a reflection of our alleged boyfriends?

    Secondly, I believe imagery and text are highly intentional in marketing. They are tools to communicate a look and feel, and are used to speak beyond what we see pictured. I can’t help but notice some visual indicators of traditional gender presentation: the hairstyles for instance, long hair on the female-appearing person, short hair on the male-appearing person. In the top photo her clothing shows leg, he is fully covered. In the bottom two photos her shirt is lower cut, he is fully covered. These all speak to pretty traditional gender presentations to me, with just a bit of “boyfriend flair” that they mention. It could have been a more powerful shot if both of these people were female appearing or identifying, or if the female appearing person at the very least had short hair, or they had matching hair…the list goes on. And although the clothing claims to not to conform to a specific gender, it clearly states that these articles are “men’s” clothing in the same paragraph. This bums me out, because it gets old to see androgyny capitalized on over and over, when queer folks are just trying to find clothing that fits their body and suits their style.

    Another disappointing read on Topman’s site was when Topman introduced Qwear. I immediately had a bad taste in my mouth: “Ever looked at a woman’s clothes and wanted to wear them? Well boys, cast those transvestism fears aside (unless it was actually a skirt and leggings), as they were most likely wearing men’s clothes.” Cast those transvestism fears aside? There’s so much to say about that statement that I’m afraid I’ll get a little long-winded… http://magazine.topman.com/category/fashion/this-is-a-womans-world-women-wearing-topman/

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