Linder: the Androgynous Label Devoted to Nuance

New York label Linder made a name for itself in Androgynous fashion. Now, its duo of designers each take on menswear and womenswear, finding their very specific style inside the details.

Source: i-D

The trend of the moment is sustainability, that’s undeniable. Fashion houses are increasingly turning to greenwashing to generate hype around their collections. Linder, on the other hand, is keeping its concerns in the realm of design. The brand is emphasising subtleties.

Co-founder of fashion label Linder, Kirk Millar, told i-D,

“The industry from my view is in a mania. There’s this question of how we restructure and challenge, rather than foster good work; it’s very antagonistic. I would love to see the aesthetic volume turned down and more attention given to nuance, which is imperative to chic and long-lasting design.”

Genderless Design

Kirk Millar and Sam Linder began their brand in 2016. It quickly became notable for its rejection of traditional menswear and womenswear collections in favour of single androgynous drops that catered to all genders.

Since 2017, the designers have branched off, splitting the designs between them with Millar in charge of menswear and Linder heading womenswear. The brand now has two distinct flavours, retaining throughout the androgynous, genderless eye from which the brand was born.

The founders pursued fashion as a place of refuge from the world around them. Growing up queer, the couple has infused their garments with a youthful innocence. As well as nods to the 1990s and 2000s.

In Spring 2017, the label showed their first womenswear collection. Combining the signature eye that they have been honing since the beginning, with a grungy street feel and theatrical cuts, the collection provided more wearability. Screen-printed AK-47s adorned a structured-yet-flowing maxi dress. Low-slung trousers kept the fits from venturing too far into the decidedly feminine.

The label’s Spring 2020 ready to wear womenswear collection was created from its limitations. Linder cited his influences as Helmut Lang’s ‘90s runway shows, and Prada’s pared-back style that forces you to look at the details.

Schoolboy Chic

The recent offerings from Linder deal with male emotions and sensitivity. The subtlety in the muted colours and soft lines pays off with a few biting leathers and schoolboy blazers. It is an outcast’s perspective on masculinity.

The jeans and sweaters are immensely wearable. With a timeless quality afforded to them by their monochromatic colour-matching.

“My work always depicts a narrative which revolves around a sensitive person trying to make sense of the world around them”.

For me, they conjure up the styling of Brideshead Revisited, given a modern, and more explicit, twist. The more preppy pieces have a Ralph Lauren air about them, with some BDSM mixed in. Contemporary updates on classics abound. Polo shirts are adorned with old-English script that playfully reads “Trophy Husband”.

It’s clear that while the pieces have a very boyish tone, they exude a softness and vulnerability that is traditionally coded as feminine. This nuance situates the brand right at home among the current wave of gender-bending labels.

Millar claims that he has no agenda when it comes to who will wear the garments that he creates,

“Consumers make up their own minds about what they want to wear… I create what I know and I applaud anybody that chooses to use clothes in interesting or unconventional ways to express their identity.”

Images sourced from: i-D

Subscribe to FIB’s newsletter for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!