For many people who identify as non-binary, finding gender-neutral clothing is hard and uncomfortable. Expressing yourself through what you wear, and how you look, has always made such an impact on our personal identity. It’s important that everyone has the same opportunity for personal expression when it comes to building their wardrobe. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Shopping is meant to be fun, and something to look forward to. But when you’re struggling to find clothing that fits how you feel and who you are, it can really take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. These are real-life scenarios for people who want a gender non-conformist wardrobe and Toronto designer, Mic Carter is making all their dreams come true with his label: L’uomo Strano.
Mic Carter began the L’uomo Strano label 8 years ago. Carter identifies as non-binary and initially started the label because it was becoming increasingly difficult to find clothing that affirmed and fit Carter’s gender. All of these issues were becoming barriers for Carter to explore all the areas their gender.
“I thought if that was an experience I was having then, a number of people in my community were likely having similar kind of experiences as well.”mic carter
Carter is also a Ryerson School of Fashion lecturer, and is educating the future generations of designers on what gender-neutral clothing means and how they can finally allow people who identify as non-binary to finally feel fully expressed.
“We have a really great future ahead. I am so encouraged and inspired by the next generation of designers that are coming up. I’ve had the privilege and honour to teach at Ryerson in their fashion program and the leadership of the outgoing chair, Ben Barry has completely transformed the conversations being had about gender and inclusivity.”mic carter
Carter admires fashion designers who are risk takers and aren’t afraid of playing with non-binary clothing items, especially designers of colour! We’ve come a long way when it comes to clothing inclusivity. Celebrities like Demi Lovato and Lil Nas X are always seen in gender-neutral clothing, but it’s not always that respected and acceptable here in the “non-celebrity” world. For Carter, the most rewarding part of the job is being able to give people the tools that help with their gender and make them comfortable. For someone to say “I’ve never felt like this before” is the ultimate gift for them.
“I think at times it can be so dangerous. I think it can be so violent and if they’re still showing up as their most authentic self, through fashion, makeup, adornment, expression, all while having to deal with harassment and comments on the street then, those are my idols and they are ICONS.”Mic Carter
The L’uomo Stano collections are centred around Carter’s ideas and aesthetics that represent Afro-Futurism or Afro-Pessimism. Afro-Futurism asks, what does Blackness look like in the future? Carter says its like the movie Black Panther, but in a fashion sense! Afro-Pessimism is the opposite, and looks at how the future for Black individuals might not be as hopeful and what they can do with that. Carter is very much invested in Black Lives Matter and the entire Black Experience.
“my collection last year was focused on these lynchings of black folks in the states and how they’ve really become these martyrs and how that can be a complicated space to exist in.”mic carter
L’uomo Strano was apart of this years Fashion Art Toronto and their show was held at Union Station last month in the middle of the night! The show consisted of 10 models and it was such an inclusive platform for non-binary clothing representation!
“When they were all in their pieces and their wigs, all of them felt seen in and empowered. Seeing them together as a group and how they were interacting made me realized how I love that L’uomo Strano empowers not just individuals but the community to be able to see each other as their own authentic self.”mic carter
Carter’s favourite look this year was a two piece purple set that had a huge hat, big flares and wide-legged pants. Carter says he absolutely loves that piece and even though its bit extra, it was such a fun piece to work with!
Feature Image: L'Uomo Strano