Denim has two fitting characteristics: It's gender-neutral and utilitarian, and Los Angeles-based brand Mother shows off those two traits in a recent capsule collection that uses the genderless aspect and straightforward origin of jeans while showing support for equal rights and the LGBTQ community.
Launched this summer for fall, the Love Your Other collection from Mother features 10 pieces of gender-neutral clothing — jeans, graphic T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and flight suits — that retail for $105 to $359 and are available on motherdenim.com.
"We wanted to bring awareness to the whole genderless idea," says Tim Kaeding, co-founder and designer of Mother. "This is not a political statement, but it's oddly now more fitting than ever."
He mentions denim's current aesthetic, which is overwhelmingly inspired by vintage jeans that have high waists and are often worn big, baggy and cinched. Today, more women are opting for non-stretch denim in their jeans, which the designer describes as having a more masculine sensibility. (On a separate note, some men are going with stretch in their denim for a better fit.)
"Denim was rooted in work wear," Kaeding adds. "It consisted of the most basic pants and shirts, and the fit was so neutral that anyone and everyone could wear it. When you trace denim back to that, it is neutral. It's the most neutral clothing we have in America."
Fashion trends aside, the collection addresses the larger issue of equality and aims to humanize a vast community of people who identify as other than 100% straight. Mother has partnered with the Self Evident Truths project, a photographic documentation of 10,000 people in the U.S. who identify themselves anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. The label will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of the Love Your Other collection to Self Evident Truths.
"Our hope in creating the Love Your Other capsule and campaign is to bring awareness to the othering that goes on when people are different," says Lela Becker, president and co-founder of Mother.
Blurring the gender lines is one pair of jeans that Kaeding built off the style he has been designing and producing for himself. (Currently, Mother does not make men's jeans.) He tweaked the rise and the waist to land on a fit that suits the male and female forms — and like the rest of the line, is sized from XS (24-inch waist) to XL (36-inch waist).
Fashion pieces come in the form of a flight jacket and a flight suit, which, like the jeans, have an insouciant feel to them when worn by a woman and a more tailored look when on a man. Graphic T-shirts also perpetuate the collection's message of "other."
"Not 100%," "Love Your Other" and "Mx." are emblazoned across the fronts of appropriately boxy-fitting T-shirts. The last, Mx., is an alternative to Mr. or Mrs. that doesn't indicate gender or marital status.
"I don't think you look at this collection and think it's too girly or masculine at all," says Kaeding. "This is more about creating a line balanced between masculine and feminine and in denim it's easy to tell that story."