I see that being “LGBTQ friendly” is now a trend and some big/small brands use its symbols to sell products. Maybe MIRCHI KOMACHI looks like one of them and is in fact no better. As of now. In the 6-panel series of posts on social media in which I wrote half of this blog text, yes I put the product photos, because people often get confused about what account it is!
But I’m willing to learn day by day and we’ll do much beyond this in the long term. And here is why I & we do, as a feminist and a feminist brand.
Why LGBTQ When MIRCHI KOMACHI’s Mission Is Feminism?
One of two missions of MIRCHI KOMACHI is to bring forward the movement to make the society where women (surely including the woman artisans we’d work with) can design our life however we want without absurd and unequal burdens. Our phrase goes as “Chalo, Ladies, The World Is Ours!”
In one word, it’s feminism.
But when I say “women”, I always feel uncomfortable. Why? Because when one says “women”, the word generally refers to cis-women.
I am a cis-woman. I have been fully enjoying the privilege as a cisgender person, but have been suffering from the violence and repression by the patriarchal society like all the other women.
I was already angry in Japan, but in India, I see the situation way crueller and shamelessly guiltlessly openly so. Very often I spend a day shaking with rage.
So, when I started a clothing brand, I set it a mission to be a part of the force to make a society where Indian women fully express themselves (not only outfits), design their life, and receive what they deserve.
Obviously, those who are oppressed by the cis-men-dominated society is not only cis-women. The people with a male body and identify themselves as a woman, the people with a female body and don’t identify themselves as any of male nor female... the list goes on.
It seems that nowadays the word “womxn” is used to include whole people who identify themselves as women.
When saying “women”, which people do I, do you, include and exclude?
Originally, What Has Feminism Been Fighting Against?
There are always debates over how feminism should be. But I think it’s basically “the idea to eliminate the discrimination based on/around sexes and to destroy all the gender-based expectations forced by the patriarchy”. It overlaps a big part with “fighting against misogyny” but is not equal. Trans-women and other LGBTQ+ people suffer from discrimination based on/around sexes, too.
Of course, the situation and experience of cis-women and LGBTQ+ people are totally different in various ways. We (cis-women) can never feel the pain of LGBTQ+ people, though we try to know.
But the feminism which puts only the cis-women in perspective is incomplete from its original meaning.
To dismantle patriarchy, the old belief like “there are only two kinds in the human race, male and female, and males behave like this while females like that, and that’s the best and only natural way” which has been ruling everyone’s life with no argument.
To make a society where everyone can live life as one desires and gets the respect one deserves without being disturbed by those who don’t understand one (they’d exist forever).
In terms of these targets, I think there are a lot of situations where feminism movement should fight along with LGBTQ+ inclusivity movement.
“LGBTQ+” contains the minorities around sexes and minorities around sexuality, and probably I’m talking with a sloppy logic due to my ignorance, but still. I keep learning every day.
What Clothes (One Of Our Contents) We Make For Whom
When we look at the practical issues involved in making clothes, what we face is:
Which people, with what body, wanting to wear what clothes in what vibes, do we make clothes for?
Almost all MIRCHI KOMACHI clothes are non-unisex as of now. We’re not making very loose clothes which fit a wide range of people.
When I saw a few men buying our (women’s) clothes very happily at The Lil Flea in 2017 (I wrote in our blog post), I started thinking that we need to make comfortable clothes for the people with a man’s body. What I mean by “comfortable” is, from my pattern maker’s aspect,
- No darts stay extra, unfilled
- Having enough width for shoulder
- Having enough space for the shoulder muscle on the back
and so on. When a man’s body wears clothes for women’s body, unless it’s very oversized, you can’t get rid of some partial lacks or extras.
At long last, in May 2019, we launched MIRCHI KOMACHI “Men’s”. We’ve made blazer jackets with 3 sizes in small lots probatively. There’s not too much response yet, but considering that the size of the response in Women’s is reducing these days (hahaha….), it’s not a surprise.
In the current lineup, there’s less variety in colours compared to Women’s. Prints are “cute” which you can find only in Women’s fabrics, but the colour pallets are those which wouldn’t "attract attention” worn by men, like blue, black, white. If we use so-called “women’s colours” like pink or red, probably some men would avoid them. We’re still observing what people buy what items. How much we narrow our target audience is still unfixed.
As for the people with a man’s body who aren’t satisfied with the variety of men’s clothes and dare to wear women’s clothes, do they like to wear cute prints with a masculine silhouette for men’s body? Or do they want to dress feminine including feminine silhouette?
… Oh hey, wait wait wait. No. No.
I’m saying “men” “women” “masculine” “feminine” a lot. This idea to limit the sexes to two and stereotyping the clothing of each is exactly the idea we want to destroy!
The people with a man’s body can select from both MIRCHI KOMACHI Women’s and “Men’s”. The people with a woman’s body can make a boxy silhouette with a MIRCHI KOMACHI "men's" blazer jacket.
As a clothes maker, we’ll just suggest MIRCHI KOMACHI clothes both for women’s body and men’s body, regardless of gender. What MIRCHI KOMACHI is willing to do is not to make clothes and suggest certain stylings, but rather to send the message “let’s wear what we want to wear. Let’s enjoy being ourselves every day. No matter what people say, it’s our body and our life”, and to support the people who want to "live".
Due to the micro size of MIRCHI KOMACHI Community, or due to my poor communication of only talking about my random idea, we still haven’t made a community where lots of opinions and chats and wishes well up. I would be so happy if you could share what you feel about / want from MIRCHI KOMACHI, what we do about feminism and LGBTQ+ movements. Please do hit the Comment section below!
Do you know the American music + performance group called Steam Powered Giraffe which consists of "robots" and "humans"?
This is the video of a beautiful song by Isabella “Bunny” Bennett, one of the original members. She transformed from a male to a female while actively playing in the band. In the band, she used to play a "male robot" avatar, and she changed it to a "female robot", along with her own transformation.
The male robot she used to play was pretty handsome and extremely charming, and there were lots of fans (including me!) who missed "him". But it seems that fans (including me!) celebrated her choice to be herself and be happy.