Over the month of June, Vogue published ‘Growing Up, Coming Out’, a series of personal reflection from queer American designers. Among these reflections, is the story of Pia Davis, founder of queer brand ‘No Sesso’.
Pia/Pierre Davis was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She spent much of her childhood travelling and living abroad as she grew up in a military family.
Interviewed by Liam Hess for Vogue’s ‘Growing Up, Coming Out’, Davis recounts her childhood love for sketching outfits. She recalls “always carrying a notebook” in elementary school and that her designs were often inspired by pictures in “the magazines my mom had lying around”.
As a black trans woman, Pia fondly talks about the unwavering support she received from her mother and sister. She says,
“My mom and sister have always been my biggest champions and encouraged me to be who I am. They helped me make clothes for the first time in high school, and helped me make a portfolio when I went to apply for fashion school.”
Davis attended the Art Institute of Seattle before moving to Los Angeles in 2014.
Davis’ Brand: No Sesso
The brand’s name is an Italian phrase translating to ‘no sex/no gender’, reflecting its aim of challenging “the conventions of fashion, art, culture, and design.”
Since its conception, No Sesso has established itself in the world of fashion as an inclusive brand. It defies the boundaries of binary gender expectations through its hand-embroidered creations.
Davis’s reflection in ‘Growing Up, Coming Out’ unpacks what her brand is really all about. Given No Sesso’s constant and successful push for diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, it comes as no surprise that authenticity and fearlessness are core values of the brand. Here’s what Davis tells Vogue about No Sesso,
“No Sesso is somewhat a queer brand, but that’s not all we are. Most of all, it’s about us doing what we want to do and creating looks for everyone. It’s about wanting to exist in a world where everyone can just dress and look how they please without being judged.”
The Success of No Sesso
Davis’s achievements reflect her success as a black trans-woman trailblazer. She was the first trans woman to present a collection at New York Fashion Week in 2019. Moreover, No Sesso has also collaborated with numerous big names in the fashion and design industry. Some of these brands include: Levi’s, Nike, MOCA and the Japanese outwear brand ‘Tatras’ (to name a few).
Most recently, No Sesso has partnered with Issa Rae and LIFEWTR on the “Life Unseen” project. The project aims to showcase the continuing lack of representation of minorities (such as POC, disabled people, LGBTQIA+ and women) in the fashion, creative and art industries.
No Sesso’s mission of “making nonconformity as beautiful and inclusive as it can possibly be” has resulted in international support and appreciation of Davis and the brand. Davis says that the brand receives many messages expressing gratitude. Specifically, people are saying “thank you for representing people like us.”
Hope for the Future of Fashion and Queer Representation
The reflection ends with Davis emphasising that while it is frustrating that it has taken so much time, she is happy to see queer artists, models and designers being recognised and appreciated. However, she cautions her readers. Davis urges them to,
“Let’s make sure that real change is happening – that it’s not just clickbait.”
You can up to date with No Sesso on its Instagram page.
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