Photography by Benedict Evans.Grooming: Angela Dicarlo. Model: Aly at Red Model Management.
"I have always been the odd bird out," says Andre Landeros Michel, whose brand, Landeros New York, is paving the way for genderless fashion.
A perennial rule-breaker, the designer creates pieces that disregard notions of masculinity and femininity. Juxtaposing luxurious and unconventional materials -- think premium leathers alongside military-grade neoprene -- his goth-meets-tailored aesthetic doesn't fall into a particular category. His clients are free to, in his words, "let their freak flag fly."
A product of the 1990s New York club-kid scene, the Long Island native grew up as an outsider in suburban Massapequa. He found solace in alternative music, listening to New Wave, goth, and punk on WDRE for hours on end. Concerts drove Landeros Michel to Manhattan, and nightclubs such as Sound Factory and Limelight kept him coming back. It was at these venues that he discovered a community of like-minded peers and began to make clothes to party in.
After first working in fashion advertising, Landeros Michel realized that he wanted to contribute directly to the fashion conversation and started attending night classes at Parsons in 2006. Following a short stint interning for Thom Browne, he launched his namesake brand in 2014.
"From the jump, we've always come from a diverse and all-inclusive place," says Landeros Michel. A quick look at the brand's casting for its runway shows, which include every skin color, sexual orientation, and gender under the sun, confirms as much.
While terms such as unisex, androgynous, and gender-neutral are thrown around with reckless abandon these days, Landeros Michel is specific with his design approach. "I start with silhouettes and play with proportion and streamline from there," he says. His collections, which feature statement overcoats and bell-bottom jumpsuits, are a response to the incredibly diverse community he encountered in nightlife some 20 years ago. In Landeros Michel's world, there is no menswear or womenswear; there are just clothes. What a refreshing thought indeed.
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