What Does Gender Mean in 2018? We Talked to Three Gen-Z Gender Fluid Kids About It

Gender, a factor that is separated and defined clearly in the fashion retail that we know of today. But that is until VERV LONDON came around. A retail platform that challenges the norm and poses the question towards this traditional concept that is becoming outdated in the world today. With an increasing group of designers and brands addressing this issue, VERV LONDON is the pioneer in merging menswear and womenswear e-commerce into the same category, utilizing the same buy on either sexes, or whichever third, fourth or fifth sex you’d identify yourself with.

TOTEM COLLECTIVE commenced and continued with the same concept of a unisex line of modern day essential bags, suitable for any modern citizen from around the world, where sex, origin, race, age should be labels that no longer define a person, except for the creativity they express through the concept of TOTEM Patches.

And that is why, we have partnered with VERV LONDON to launch exclusively the collection of “Extra-Galactic” Patches, a collection inspired by the androgynous style and personalities on the misty nights of glittery dance floor culture, on this revolutionary gender fluid retail platform. It’s fun, it’s connected, and it’s glamorous.

For the launch of the “Extra-Galactic” patch collections, we featured three passionate gender fluid Generation Z kids living across Netherlands, London and Paris. The new generation has benefited from the struggles of the suffragists, civil rights activists, second wave feminists and more recently, the movement for LGBTQI equality. Today there is a greater acceptance about our identities, our rights and social diversity. This leads the Generation Z into a new direction of self-expression and looking at their identities in a fresh way.

We were interested to know more about the new faces of gender fluidity in 2018, so we spoke to three of the models – Zarah in London, Joris in the Netherlands and Meme in Paris about their views on identities today, where the gender movement is going, and where they love to dance and let themselves shine.


 Meme with TOTE 01 & Discoball Patch

Meme with TOTE 01 & Discoball Patch

1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you? What do you do? How would you identify yourself?

I’m Meme, also formerly known as Ryan, just kidding, Ryan’s my real name but Meme is the name I go by. I’m currently finishing my masters in luxury management at IFM, and about to become a buyer soon! Other than that… I just flow through life and enjoy all its magic.

2. The Extra-Galactic collection patches were inspired by the misty nights of 80s dance floor culture, mixing androgynous style and personalities together with a spirit of total openness. So what are your favourite places to dance in the city you live in?

Honestly, I’m terrible at this. Every time someone asks me this, I don’t know because Paris is so heavily events based, the venues can change, but most importantly and this is the cliche, it’s all about the people you're with! Everywhere can be a dance floor with the right people, the right music, but most importantly someone who remembers the damn speakers, oh and wine, but that’s easy to find.

“Catch me at 8am after a night out, I’m more butch than a football captain, catch me at 2am and I will steal your boyfriend.” -- Meme

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3. VERV LONDON is a platform focusing on gender fluid clothing. Do you recognise yourself as gender non-binary? Why?

Yas, yes, yeeess. It took me a very long time, coming from and growing up in Taiwan around the 2000’s there wasn’t even much of a gay talk, it was introduced to my world when I was in 6th grade and people used it as a derogatory slur. Anyways, so when I heard the word gay I thought yes bingo! Since I was a guy who liked a guy, but then fast forward through the past decade…I started wonder about my gender, I went through a phase of wanting to look straight (hashtag: masc 4 masc), then I wanted to look more like a woman, be thought about like one. Then recently, I realize so much about this gender label is a reflection of what I was going through emotionally back then, perhaps based on a crush, based on my surroundings, but now that I’m not longer young and more realistic with my thoughts and emotions, I realized I’m neither. There are moments when I wake up I want to be masculine, there are moments I want to be feminine, and that’s just me, and if I’m gonna be funny- that’s just meme. Catch me at 8am after a night out, I’m more butch than a football captain, catch me at 2am and I will steal your boyfriend. Kidding, I won’t, I’m the shyest person about love.

4. Do you think gender is a concept that is no longer relevant? Or if you think it still is, why?

I think gender is always going to be relevant but it’s about how we approach it. The idea is to dismantle and rebuild, and not be so eager to completely get rid of something because it’s such a large part of us. The wrong thing about this “gender” idea doesn’t come from “man” or “woman”, the wrong part is how we assigned to these labels. If we can approach both labels with the same respect and neutrality we wouldn’t have such a

problem. Here’s the thing, and because this is the internet, here’s just my opinion, if we don’t think immediately of what woman and man is but think of them as the same category where you can assign words and traits as each individual thinks of themselves it wouldn’t be such a problem. In some sense, I have had the privilege of being surrounded by amazing friends who has approached me in that sense- they don’t call me he or she at different moments, from different people but they all expect different things from me, and I’m okay with that, as long as they don’t assume what they call me is going to be what I am and how I will act. Don’t say he’s a guy he should pick up the bags for me, she’s a girl so she should help clean, no bitch, I will carry the bag because I’m nice, I will clean the house because I can.

“I never liked techno that much before I arrived in Paris but then when I slowly travel between these scenes and watching the community be so friendly and genuine and just fucking dance, which I never seen before in Taiwan or America, it was extremely, extremely inspiring.”

5. What is the community like in the dance floors you go to? Who are they? And how do they impact you?

The type of places I go to are mostly thanks to my much cooler and artsy (also to be honest, such unique fashion) kids of Paris, I never liked techno that much before I arrived in Paris but then when I slowly travel between these scenes and watching the community be so friendly and genuine and just fucking dance, which I never seen before in Taiwan or America, it was extremely, extremely inspiring. Everyone is so wild, free, and it’s beautiful, because everything is just enclosed in to one night until the next night, but until the night ends it seems like it’s forever. The intensity, the raw energy, the music, the touches, the thick air, it’s intoxicating and electrifying. For me, dancing is one of the ultimate ways to show how comfortable you are with your body, how beautiful you see yourself and to watch them do it each night still makes me smile.

“For me, dancing is one of the ultimate ways to show how comfortable you are with your body, how beautiful you see yourself”

6. What is your thought on self-expressions in your environment or your city? Do you feel free, restrained, challenged or nothing at all being yourself?

Paris is like the aunt that dresses super nicely every time during holiday dinner, but everyone’s scared to talk to her because she can be judgy, but after few glasses of wine or whatever she did in the bathroom she’s the best. Paris is like that, there are so many moments the glamour sweeps over, and you feel like you can’t be unique, but then there are small corners and moments in the cities that really allows self- expression. During the daylight, perhaps it’s not the easiest to be non-normative on the streets, but at night, in the ubers (hahaha), it’s when Auntie Paris shows you the lingerie she bought before dinner. It’s a challenge, because you have to compromise on how free you want to be, but that’s beautiful too no? To learn how to respect your surrounding but also challenge it just a bit, there and there. That’s how I promote change at least, it’s the tiny steps for me. Still, every time I see someone jaw dropping confident in whatever they’re wearing in Paris, I salute them.

7. What did you wear the last time you went out dancing?

 Friends and Meme 

Friends and Meme 

A red pencil skirt, a pair of high heels, and this red thing. Can you tell I like red? Anyways, halfway through the night the heels on my left foot fell off but I still danced for another 2 hours. That moment was my America’s Next Top Model moment.

8. Do you feel that you are more true to yourself going out dancing or it’s the same during daytime also?

I’m more true to myself when I go out dancing for sure. It’s beautiful no? Why should I give everything about myself to everything and everyone during the day? It’s not me being fake, it’s me wanting to just keep a bit of me private, locked away into a tiny venue with some people.

9. What is the problem today that you think should be addressed the most?

Education, education, education. The world will be a better place and we always be if everyone is a bit more educated. I think the next generation is always getting better with the technological boom, but we still have miles ahead. We need to properly educate people on morals, philosophy, race, sexuality, class disparity, gender, and so much more. We need to create a fundamental code for people to at least understand each other before we move towards more of the little things. We all yearn to be understood, but how often do we really learn how to understand?


Joris

@thebluejoris
 

Joris.jpg

1. Who are you? What do you do? How would you identify yourself?

My name is Joris Roosen and I’m a 21 year old art student with a great enthusiasm for experimental fashion. I started posting content online as @Thebluejoris several years back, I believe it was 2016; mainly to use my content as a visual diary. After feeling more need to expand my page I started writing poetry and posting content trying to explain the importance and beauty of YOUR personal style and how to radiate your personality through your looks. After all, a personal outfit sometimes is the loudest conversation!

Starting my study at the academy last year made me realize how much there’s to learn and experiment with different materials and ways of expressing yourself. There are so many paths to walk and finding your own is one of the hardest things ever. Luckily I have learned to enjoy this process and seeing the beauty in my failure

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2. VERV LONDON is a platform focusing on gender fluid clothing. Do you recognise yourself as gender non-binary? Why?

I consider myself as myself. After struggling with my identity and health for 8 years, I realized I no longer needed any box to live in. I stopped thinking all these vague ideas of feeling male, female or neither. I am Joris and I radiate my vibes, joy and success the way I want to! The true power of defining who you are lies inside yourself. You do not need the stamp of a gender to be you that is utterly ridiculous! You are one beautiful piece of yourself that you need to love and take care of, even if this is hard sometimes. There’s nothing more exhausting than this battle going on in your mind, but please hear my words: ‘YOU ARE PERFECTLY YOU”

3. Do you think gender is a concept that is no longer relevant? Or if you think it still is, why?

Gender was never relevant in my eyes; It’s a good thing that it’s a topic of discussion now I think, for many people find it repulsive to let go of the so called ‘save zone’ and be confronted with less conservative thoughts in their society. I think this change is good; together we can make a difference and change not only our own lives, but also the entire social behavior and so the lives of future generations. The path to understanding and equality will be long and rough but so worth walking. WE make the difference, let’s take our chance to change things.

4. What is the community like in the dance floors you go to? Who are they?

The places I go to, mainly everyone is so done with their daily chores and assignments that they completely let go and dance their pointy shoes off their feet. It’s hilarious to see and feels SO good to do it yourself. Nothing beats a good night with beautiful people, magical skies and beautiful music.

“The less people understand and accept me here, the more I am determined to stay” 

5.     What is your thought on your self-expressions in your environment or your city? Do you feel free, restrained, and challenged or nothing at all being yourself?

The city I live in is rather conservative in my opinion when it comes to visual self-expression. A good example is my ‘path’ tattoo that is nothing more than a simple line from my neck to the end of my middle finger symbolizing my 8 years battle with the severe eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. For me this is one of the most important periods in my life for it has made me the person I am today. I feel powerful and strong even though shooting the images for VERV LONDON still got me anxious. I feel that my city isn’t really ‘for me’ and I’d rather move to Rotterdam or somewhere in that area after graduating from my academy. However, the less people understand and accept me here, the more I am determined to stay. I am not evil, alienated or threatening. I am in deep connection with myself and bending my own insecurities into my pride and beauty. This process of strengthening myself and thereby finding success in loving myself more is quite scary for some people. I believe it confronts them with their own struggle and perhaps insecurities. That’s why I’ll keep on spreading my vibes and style as long as I walk this planet. I am lucky to find myself in the environment of the academy these days, there’s not a more open-minded and comforting place like that nearby.

6. What did you wear the last time you went out dancing?

Last time I went out for a party I visited a themed party with dress code ‘fetish’ I actually wore a see-through holographic shirt and wore a harness on top of that; finished the look wearing a vintage silk pantaloons and some pointy vintage Gucci boots. Had a complete blast that night feeling both shameless and entertained by the other costumes!

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7.  What is the problem today that you think should be addressed the most This is an unbelievably difficult question for there is SO much that should change at this moment…I actually paused thinking about this question and I came up with an answer that might not be evident but does feel good to me. I think everyone should show a little more kindness, love and empathy towards another. There’s no more trust and real friendships are rare. I think this is alarming and can be changed if done together. Spread a little more light and love and brighten up the place together… that is my wish, my dream.

8.    The Extra-Galactic collection patches were inspired by the misty nights of 80s dance floor culture, mixing androgynous style and personalities together with a spirit of total openness. So what are your favorite places to dance in the city you live in?

Together with my friends I enjoy visiting cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam mainly because of the good techno parties. There are a few good places in my city but I prefer the bigger cities more mainly because of the huge diversity of people you’ll meet whilst being a night out! After visiting Berlin last year I was completely obsessed with the vibes of the Techno clubs we visited. The flame never died I guess ;-)


Zarah

@zarahkofler
 

Zarah.jpg

1. Who are you? What do you do? How would you identify yourself?

 Zarah at Loverboy party in London, 2015

Zarah at Loverboy party in London, 2015

My name is Zarah Kofler and I am from the alps in Austria, where I am currently based again. I am a trained seamstress/tailor who worked in several parts of the fashion industry in London and Austria in the past years. I am now trying to start a new career as an actress, studying myself at home and trying to get in at Babelsberg Film- University in Germany. I identify myself as an independent, strong, loving & free girl, who is looking for the art in herself.

2. VERV LONDON is a platform focusing on gender fluid clothing. Do you recognise yourself as gender non-binary? Why?

I totally do. Even as a child I was wearing my brother’s old clothes and just wanted to get new from the boy’s section, without questioning. I don’t question the gender the piece is originally made for. Don’t take clothes too seriously.

3. The Extra-Galactic collection patches were inspired by the misty nights of 80s dance floor culture, mixing androgynous style and personalities together with a spirit of total openness. So what are your favourite places to dance in the city you live in?

I am currently living at my hometown in the mountains, where there is no club culture, but “Zeltfestl’n. Innsbruck, is the closest city, where I like to go out at the “Viaduktbögen”, which is quite alternative. We have amazing concerts, and some good clubs there, where they play Techno & other electronic music.

4. Do you think gender is a concept that is no longer relevant? Or if you think it still is, why?

I think it’s time to speak even more clearly and truly about tolerating and understanding that every person can be whoever they want to be & dream off.

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5. What is the community like in the dance floors you go to? Who are they? I am seeing good vibrations, groovy dance moves, self- love, moist, sharing love, posers, performers, naked skin, no judgement!

6. What is your thought on self-expressions in your environment or your city? Do you feel free, restrained, challenged or nothing at all being yourself?

I feel like being myself everywhere I go. To be honest I feel the need and desire to dress all up more when I am in a bigger city, like London. When I am here in Austria, I don’t really get that excited too often, and if so, there is always people telling me how disgusting I look, how stupid my coat is, how beautiful I’d be with long hair, how slutty I dance etc… It’s just natural to feel more happy when people tell you how amazing you look, which they do in cities mostly.

7. What is the problem today that you think should be addressed the most

The Sustainment of the planet we all live on and destroy, to give back, what we took from mother nature.

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VERV LONDON GLOBAL EXCLUSIVE

DISCOBALL EXTRA-GALACTIC Patches

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STARDUST EXTRA-GALACTIC Patches 

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