Los Angeles designer Pierre Davis released her latest “chapter” of NO SESSO in New York City for New York Fashion Week F/W 2019, making history as the first openly transgender designer to present a collection on the official calendar of one of the premiere fashion events in the world. NBC News also named Davis one of nine black fashion designers to watch this week.
NO SESSO’s chapter for F/W 2019 continues to evade gender labels with this year’s business glamazon aesthetic, living up to its brand’s name: “no sesso” literally means “no sex” in Italian. Davis envisioned the chapter as clothing the businesswoman of the future, sending all shapes, sizes, and gender identities down the runway in “clothes for masculine people who want to appear more feminine, feminine people who want to appear more masculine, and everything in between.” Davis sent musician Kelsey Lu down the catwalk in a traffic-stopping cropped orange coat and a molten, floor-skimming silver skirt to close down the show.
Davis’s work is not just about fashion. She recently shared with Elle that she hopes her line “will inspire people to be more community-minded and to realize not everything is just about aesthetics or commerce. It’s also about humanity.” NO SESSO’s models are what the brand calls “avatars,” likening each on of them to a muse. “It’s really about showing people who look like us,” Davis told Vogue.
Fashion Industry Becoming More Inclusive and Representative
NO SESSO’s runway show is the latest indication that the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive and representative of its audience and wearers. For New York Fashion Week S/S 2019, Los Angeles designer Marco Marco sent 34 openly trans and non-binary models down the runway for an underwear show. “Although I have always had trans and non binary people in my shows, it became apparent to me that their presence was often overshadowed by cis gay men or cis gay men in drag,” designer Marco Morante explained in an interview.
Brooklyn-based trans designer Gogo Graham has also shown her work in past New York Fashion Weeks. Graham began as a womenswear designer but pivoted to clothing that could be worn by a diversity of trans bodies. “I do the [model] casting and then I make the clothes, because a lot of our bodies are so different that I can’t even start to make something until I know who I’m working with,” she told W Magazine in 2016, explaining that she collaborates with them on what features they want to play up or play down.
Currently, brands that participate in Fashion Week must submit their work to either the Men’s or Women’s runways; designers that put out genderless or trans collections typically show as womenswear, but the rising prominence of lines like NO SESSO is certain to expand the industry’s conception of what fashion can be.