In 2013, it’s hard to believe there isn’t one place women can go to find clothing that is decidedly androgynous, and I don’t mean “boyfriend jeans.” The rules of fashion have changed in that there are no rules. Slacks, ties, suspenders — they don’t belong to men anymore, but women still have to go from store-to-store to find bits and pieces for their wardrobes.
All photos by Lindsey Byrnes
Today is the launch of Wildfang (“Tomboy” in German), a fashion and lifestyle company aimed at women who want to find that masculine-inspired wear made for them all in one place. Co-founders Julia Parsley and Emma McIlroy met at Nike where they worked in the foundation and brand marketing, respectively, and learned the basics in business.
“It gave us a great platform to jump off of and plunge head-first into entrepreneurship,” Emma said. “We both had great jobs at a killer company, but the time came when we knew we had to leave. We had to take a leap of faith and follow our dreams of building something special for tomboys like us.”
Two years in the making, Julia and Emma were tired of “stalking items in the men’s department, trying them all on only to leave empty-handed because they didn’t fit us.” But in talking to friends, it was clear this was a shared issue.
“We created Wildfang for our friends and for their friends,” Emma said, “and for all the badass women we haven’t had the chance to meet yet. We think being a tomboy is just as much about attitude as it is about fashion, so in that sense we hope Wildfang will become the home for tomboys.”
With that in mind, Wildfang will be home to a launch collection that includes “pieces from over 25 amazing brands – some you’ll know and some you won’t,” Emma said. “We’ve searched far and wide to find a really compelling collection of tomboy styles. Most of our brands are based in LA, which is something we’re really proud of, but there’s also some very cool stuff coming out of Australia and the UK that we’re excited to feature. Every item we bought, we tried on ourselves and made sure it fit well and felt great. So, you’ll see Wildfang present a collection with a range of price-points, but with quality, fit, and feel at the center of every purchase.”
To help usher in that message, Wildfang has employed some familiar faces as ambassadors in their new launch video. Actress Kate Moennig, musician Hannah Blilie and soccer pro Megan Rapinoe are all part of the brand.
“There are certain qualities that play a big role in the Wildfang brand: cheeky, fun, confident, and inspirational. We wanted to work with women who really embodied those same qualities,” Emma said of the women. “Each of these girls is a tomboy. Each of these girls is also a talented, interesting, fun, authentic role model for the Wildfang community. It was an absolute privilege to work with them and we had a blast during the shoot in Portland.”
“I’ve always identified as a tomboy, and I loved the idea of a clothing marketplace that catered to me and my gender expression,” Gossip drummer Hannah Blilie said. “I met with the co-founders of Wildfang and really liked them personally. I thought they had great ideas about how to reach fashionable androgynous folks in an accessible and inspiring way.”
Hannah describes her style as “casual and streetwear inspired,” with lots of black. She prefers oversized T-shirts and tank tops with skinny jeans and dropcrotch sweats, paired with modern sneakers and vintage pieces like her favorite ’90s Raiders Starter jacket.
” I’m very simple in my style but I love clothes and definitely care about how I present myself out in the world,” Hannah said.
But it’s an issue for her to find the right sizes in men’s styles. “Especially in shoes,” Hannah said. “I find that European brands tend to cater to my size and shape a bit better.”