On 4 February, we cried with joy and smiled with hope. NYFW had barely begun, but Glamcult-favourite fashion talent No Sesso put the pedal to the metal with such grace and confidence that the result still has everyone hooked up and talking. Rightfully so. Beauty standards, gender binaries, garment-production methods: nothing is off limits with No Sesso when it comes to total re-conceptualization of tradition. Founded by Pierre Davis, and comprised of her friends Arin and Leo, No Sesso—Italian for “no sex/gender”—interlocks fine Romanticist flamboyance with saggy streetwear, Baroque references with a touch of sports gear. In the world they build, a knight’s helmet goes hand-in-hand with ’90s-inspired denim, the collective soaking everything they touch in powerful fluidity. The result is uplifting, metamorphic, cathartic—in a homogenous world of exclusives, here inclusivity and diversity of voices are placed on a pedestal. Below, we talk to Pierre about the process of creation, social media and the importance of being a voice for her community.
A collage aesthetic permeates your work. How so?
It’s about creating a style and a brand identity. Whenever someones sees the garment, they know it’s No Sesso. Like most creatives, once we make something, we start thinking of how it can be developed and taken further than the last time.
You’re also all about re-purposing, re-contextualizing and re-constructing.
Yes, for instance, a lot of the denim we use comes from old, work denim. There’s something about the wash and how thick that denim is. It gives each silhouette so much character and structure. It’s also important to use resources that can help save the environment.
What about the way you choose to present a show? I’m still hooked on your Getty Capsule collection runway, when you had the models walk through water up their knees…
We love drama and knew it would make the show come to life more. We planned the runway way before the show took place. The models, wearing these fabulous, detailed and heavy garments in the water was about us overcoming anything, and that we can do anything too.
No Sesso is known for hand embroidery and a very local production and craftsmanship process. What’s the role of locality and a handmade touch within your brand?
Indeed, we make all of the runway looks in-house. Some of the garments have intense patterns that we need to make the samples for. The very detailed hand embroidery work we do is definitely something no one else can do. In a way, it’s almost like we’re charging the garments with bursting energy and bringing them to life.
Your pieces also stand out for the unique and hyper-diverse use of fabrics. What is fabrics’ role in the process? Where do you source them?
Fabric is so important, I love texture. And our fabrics come from everywhere! We source most of them from Downtown Los Angeles, in the Fashion District. In more recent collections, we’ve worked with different companies and factories that screen print drawings I have made to create our own textile designs. We also dye and do other cool fabric manipulations.
A bit off technicalities and more into media and fashion: where do you, as a community, stand in relation to social media and its representation of minorities and their work?
I love and hate social media. It’s so important for smaller brands to be on it, because it allows for many people to notice them. But it’s also toxic, since it enables people to come across your work and steal ideas, designs, etc. The No Sesso Instagram feed is all about showing our community a fashion sense that they can relate to. Often in media, light skin and long blonde hair is the norm and the standard. However, it’s not for us.
What about visibility being used as a marketing tool by larger brands?
Today, a lot of brands definitely use gender, skin tones, and sexual preference as marketing tools. Will this change or simply become less obvious? It would be nice if it did change, but I doubt it will. We just have to keep voicing our opinions and letting these big companies know that they can’t use us to make money.
How important is it for you to be a voice that speaks for and to a particular community from within it, rather than an outsider ‘representing’ it?
It’s very important to be a voice. It’s also very important for others in my community to be heard. No Sesso is a platform for us all to be as loud as we want.