Queer speculative apparel line and branding for Kit Howland and Zac Yelnosky's Speculative Design class, Winter 2018—handmade fleece sweatshirt and shorts screenprinted with Jacquard inks, accompanied by a board and paper box and app mockup.
In the devastating aftermath of the Trump administration, the United States government decided to implement a number of queer-affirming legislative measures and federally funded programs to attempt to heal and support the LGBTQIA+ community. One such measure was NORM. What started as a small-scale, federally funded design collective rapidly evolved into a far-reaching federal agency, with the mission to aggressively normalize queer gender and sexual identities to achieve the same broad acceptance as historical cisheteronormativity. This lofty goal spurred the agency to explore multiple sectors—apparel, advertising, and entertainment, among others. The NORM apparel line of customizable athleisure-style garments quickly gained widespread recognition and acclaim for its bold direction and positive message.
I designed this possible future context, and its accompanying objects, to explore the relationships between queerness, the body, fashion, and power. As a bisexual, white, cis man, I’m interested in exploring my position within society as an individual inhabiting multiple intersections of privilege, and a lack thereof. The apparel pieces and NORM branding is specifically designed to communicate a queer-affirming, emboldened attitude, while also embodying an uneasy sense of stark whiteness, hypervisibility, and homogenization. The tension within the body of work is meant to create discursive space in which the intersections of queerness and power can be dissected. NORM is also a critique of members of the LGBTQIA+ community who operate with certain privileges, primarily racial and gender privilege.
Featured here are a customized, long-sleeved top and a default short in the packaging in which they would appear, if ordered online by an individual who identifies as bisexual and/or romantic and pansexual and/or romantic. The NORM logo is consistent throughout the pieces, and the bi and pan flags replace the PRIDE flag in the default NORM marker. The sides of the box prominently display the default logo and the top’s customized bi/pan marker. On the inside bottom panel, the NORM maxim can be seen, once the clothing is removed.
The NORM app mockup shows the basic navigation through the site—the about section, the store, and resources. Items from the apparel line and other accessories or promotional materials would be purchased in the store. 50% of the profit would go to HIV/AIDS research, and a selection of pro-LGBTQIA+ nonprofit organizations.
Interact with the prototype by clicking on the norm app icon. Interactive elements are highlighted in blue when the screen is clicked.