As mainstream understandings of bodies and identity evolve and change, it's only fitting that industries, such as fashion, evolve too.
That's the case with NiK Kacy, one of the first luxury footwear brands to describe their product as gender-neutral. At HuffPost Gay Voices we've been documenting the shifting nature of queerness within the fashion world through our series "FABRICATIONS: Emerging Queer Faces of Fashion Design." The NiK Kacy brand is certainly emblematic of this shift and an exciting prospect for bodies existing outside of binary understandings of gender.
NiK Kacy is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the brand's first line. The Huffington Post chatted with Kacy this week about their vision for this footwear line, as well as its cultural significance.
The Huffington Post: What inspired you to launch this campaign?
NiK Kacy: I spent most of my life unable to find the type of shoes that fit my style and gender identity. I've always been told that the shoes I wanted were not made in my size or were not for me because I wasn't a man. I felt very neglected as a consumer and, as I became an adult, I realized that there were many others out there who had a similar experience.
How is this initiative uniquely personal to you?
Having shoes that finally fit me in both style and size was life-changing. I think that the entire ensemble of what I wear helps convey the confidence I feel. When I used to wear shoes that were too big for me it just never felt quite right. Now, I feel finally completely genuine and confident when I walk out and I'm not wearing extra insoles or my feet are not sliding up and down in the shoe.
Why is having accessible footwear not constrained by gendered expectations so important?
Fashion is about style -- an expression of one's identity in a creative way through what we wear. The shoe industry has historically divided styles and sizes based on gender, especially in the US. We are in a fashion revolution right now. As our views on gender identity and gender expression change, more and more clothing companies are developing styles that are not limited to a specific gender. The footwear industry needs to catch on to this shift and I'm hoping I help nudge them a bit more. I feel very fortunate that I have the ability to not only address my own personal desire to create gender neutral shoes, but to also be a part of this exciting movement.
What do you hope we'll see in the future in terms of the fashion industry adapting to non-binary identities?
As you can see from NY Fashion Week, the shift to genderqueer fashion is happening. My hope is that in the non-distant future every store will become non-gender specific, like the London company Selfridges, who in March will become "agender," eliminating the division between men's and women's departments.
Head here to visit the NiK Kacey Kickstarter campaign.