This New Agender Fashion Site Wants You To Just Do You

Photographed by Logan Jackson for You Do You.
If you've had even glimpsed at the Internet as of late, you've noticed that gender — and the idea that there's much more out there than just male-born men and female-born women — is a conversation gaining traction in a big way. Thanks to new publishers like You Do You — a passion project containing editorials that prides itself on presenting an "agender" perspective — the expansion of the gender binary is working. But what makes this site so unique amongst its other art-mag, counterculture counterparts, like Dis magazine and C★NDY, is that its subjects are more accessible than cover stars before. Editor-in-chief Kristiina Wilson, creative director Logan Jackson, and managing editor Casey Geren all have years of experience in the industry, and started the site with a little help from their friends — a crop of New York's most eclectic individuals who inspire them on the daily. And, after just a few clicks, it's easy to see they're off to a strong start.

Just peep their mission statement, for example: "You Do You is a new web portal for agender fashion, accessories, and lifestyle. YDY provides an inclusive online base that serves both the producers and consumers of unisex fashion by bringing them together in one place — via original content, editorials, advertorials, celebrity interviews, and news stories."

We spoke to Kristiina and Logan on everything from how their idea came to fruition and what it means for agender media, to the nitty-gritty work that's required to create such meaningful, mind-scratching content.

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Photographed by Logan Jackson for You Do You.
How did the initial idea come about?
Logan Jackson: "Kristiina had the idea to create a web platform that catered to a community of people who do not want to be restricted in what they wear, who they identify as, or where their interests lie. As a team, we decided to put all of our energy into creating a space that would allow everyone, from big names to undiscovered talents, to express through fashion, art, and writing something that is now more than ever being heavily debated, philosophized, and explored."

What did it take to actually get everyone on board?
LJ: "It took a lot of motivation. It was really important for us not to second-guess ourselves and believe that this would really be a great virtual space, because we had to reach out to so many people of various communities and, for basically the first time, really ask for help. It’s important for us to have people on our team representing a long list of communities, and we are still finding our footing. We, and so many of the people we know, have the ability to make something beautiful happen here, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through to start a business like this one. Lawyers, web designers, parents asking you what 'agender' means, and having to be extremely creative in coming up with a Twitter handle (a real concern somehow!). We also have to tell ourselves to not get overwhelmed, tired, or unenthusiastic, because this is something that could bring a lot of people who deserve attention to the public eye."

How do you go about who and what to feature?
Kristiina Wilson: "To create the initial site, we reached out to like-minded friends and people within our communities that we felt like were a good match in terms of the mood we were creating. When we started YDY, we created direction boards for art, design, and imagery, as well as models, writers, photographers, and other creatives that we found inspiring and would love to work with, to make sure that we were all on the same page in terms of YDY's creative direction. Having such a strong viewpoint and focus has been super-helpful in terms of creating content as we move forward, and we (Logan, Casey, and myself) are constantly sending each other pitches and adding to our direction and creative boards."
Photographed by Kristiina Wilson for You Do You.
What about inspiration? Where does that come from?
LJ: "The inspiration for what we do on a creative level comes from so many different places. I’ve been dwelling on Tumblr since I was a teenager, and, as general as it sounds, it is so easy to just go into a rabbit hole of inspiration. To add to that, we live in NYC — arguably the city pulsating with the most creative energy sometimes — so we’re constantly surrounded by people who inspire us by just being themselves. To build the creative direction for the website from nothing, I looked to photographers and artists who I knew and respected initially, whether from going to the School of Visual Arts or just from the mythical-seeming art community of the city, and then, naturally, that breaks off into tangents wherein I can constantly find inspiration. Kristiina and Casey are constantly buzzing with new ideas, and two of my closest friends, Aaron Kolfage and Ian Stoner, have provided so much needed advice and creativity, so that YDY can grow and stay innovative."

Why are you guys using the word "agender" specifically? As opposed to phrases such as "gender neutral," "gender fluid," etc.
KW: "'Agender' seems to be the most neutral term out of everything available, while at the same time being the easiest to say. Terms like "gender fluid" and "gender neutral" are real and important terms, but what we wanted to do was create an outlet where everyone could be included as equals, and not just because of how they identify. 'Agender' is also a word that a good number of people aren't too familiar with, and have questions about — and YDY is going to try and make it known. We want it to be able to reach so many more people across the population and give the revolution a platform. The focus of the site is, in fact, to find a balance between shining a light on all the ways out there that someone can identify, while at the same time not forcing our own ideas about gender or making that our only focus."
Photographed by Thomas McCarty for You Do You.
What do you hope the site does for the agender community? What type of tool or service do you see it fulfilling?
KW: "The initial concept of YDY was to simply bring gender-free fashion to everyone. We don't see a need for gender binaries in fashion, or in life. That's a dated concept. One day you might feel more masculine, another more feminine, another more neutral. Why shouldn't your clothing be able to help you express those feelings, should you so desire? As we set about building the site, it became clear that this doesn't stop at fashion. So, we expanded it to include features on amazing artists, writers, designers, and people just living their lives that we feel have something important to express about what it really means to be your true self, and the struggles and rewards that may come with that."

What does YDY's future look like?
LJ: "YDY will hopefully continue to grow creatively, and in terms of the audience it reaches. We want to do so many more collaborations, whether they are with designers, artists, or companies who are interested in the issues facing gender identity and who want to make waves. Since the start, we have dreamt of a world in which fashion is definitively all-inclusive, and we want to help move it in the positive direction in which it seems to be headed. We have so much love for the people we feature, and want to continue to work with people who are doing great things."
Photographed by Kristiina Wilson for You Do You.
Some of our favorite editorials so far include YDY's take on heightening your best facial features, and their pick of the best agender designers right now. Don't forget to follow You Do You on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.

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