Like many of the models cast for the show — among them Madison Paige (@madspaige), Arta Gjonbalaj (@artagee), Rain Dove (@raindovemodel) and Merika Palmiste (@merikatheone) — TJ identifies as nonbinary. And the lineup may reflect a reality the fashion world has been struggling to accommodate — mashed-up men’s and women’s shows is one example — for some time.
“There is this evolution happening — as opposed to a revolution — of people recognizing themselves outside of gender specificity,” Ms. Nearburg wrote in an email before what would be the first men’s wear show in this observer’s memory in which not a single model was male.
“Krammer & Stoudt has a loyal following among nonbinary people, L.G.B.T.Q. women and straight women,” she wrote. “Often we are asked if it’s ‘okay’ for these people to buy our clothes. Of course it’s okay.”
What is more, Ms. Nearburg said on Monday, recognizing an inevitable tropism away from traditionally defined gender identities opens up not only potential new markets, but also many design possibilities.
“The practical reason for doing this is that people like TJ and Mads and those in their generation or younger are not comfortable confining themselves to a gender definition any more,” Ms. Nearburg said. Yet, as she learned during her years in the 1990s punk scene in Austin, Tex., gender play as a way of subverting societal norms is one of fashion’s time-honored tools. Back when her club uniform was a sleeveless man’s T-shirt, a leather biker jacket and trousers, Ms. Nearburg found that her apparent androgyny made her attractive across the spectrum of gender identities.
“I was hit on by straight men, gay men, gay women, straight women,” she said.
“That was part of my inspiration for doing the casting this way,” she said. “We’re deliberately not casting feminine-presenting men because we’re doing a masculine show. It’s still men’s wear we’re dealing with here. We wanted masculine-presenting women, androgynous women, gay women who consider themselves female, nonbinary women, because we wanted to demonstrate how that space is opening up at a culturally regressive time.”
There was something else. “You look at people like TJ and Madison and they are just so badass and cool,” Ms. Nearburg said.