If you felt a strange disturbance in the fashion force about a week ago, it might have been down to the millions of voices crying out in terror as the “RompHim™” broke the internet.
Sadly not a long overdue sequel to Geoffrey Wright’s seminal Romper Stomper, the RompHim™ is instead little more than a playsuit for men.
(Yes, despite the fact that playsuits and jumpsuits designed primarily as womenswear have never been referred to as “romp-hers”, the team behind the startup evidently thought that men might be more likely to go all in on an all-in-one if it were called a “RompHim™”.)
The RompHim™, dreamed up by ACED Design and unleashed on Kickstarter, has been one of the more blisteringly successful crowdfunding campaigns in recent memory. With 21 days to go as I write this, it has seen more than $365,000 pledged (of an initial $10,000 goal), presumably by men who can’t wait to feel like they’re wearing nothing at all.
This is nothing new, really; James Bond wore a (darling) baby-blue terry-towelling romper in Goldfinger back in 1964. But – and perhaps this is the key to Mr Bond’s exponentially increasing level of existential woe – he didn’t think to monetise the romper.
As the ACED team told GQ, “We got to talking about why we couldn’t build a better product and make a romper available for men that’s cool and fun and different and is a conversation starter at the end of the day.” Putting aside the fact that there are already multiple rompers available for men (noted fashion giant Hard Yakka has been making overalls and jumpsuits, albeit slightly less “kicky” ones, since the 1930s), this is a remarkable example of the ongoing success of gendered marketing.
It’s true that the RompHim™ comes with a zipper fly, making it slightly more convenient than most “roll down” jumpsuits, but the only thing that would’ve stopped men buying their own playsuits for festival season prior to the invention of the RompHim™ is that they might have had to step inside the “women’s” section of a high street store.
As Monica Dux recently wrote, “In the end, the ‘rules’ around gendered clothes aren’t about fashion, or taste. They’re about how we mark difference, enforcing and reiterating restrictive ideas about what it is to be a girl or a boy, a man or a woman.”
Gendering clothing also dictates pricing schemes, and can ramp up feelings of gender dysphoria.
There have been some promising strides made when it comes to dismantling gendered clothing – from kids’ Halloween costume suppliers doing away with “girls” and “boys” labels, to the genderless clothing ranges shown at various fashion weeks, as well as labels that address fit and sizing difficulties for those who like to dress masculine or feminine of centre, regardless of their gender – but for the most part the fashion industry is staunchly gendered and society follows suit.
Anyone who has gone shopping in a department that doesn’t appear to fit their gender expression will know all too well the concerned looks and well-meaning “Excuse me, ma’am/sir” interjections from staff that tend to follow someone buying the “wrong” clothes.
Since I’m more often than not short of a dollar, however, I’ve decided I’m willing to sell out – and, so, I’m getting in on the trend. Gender is over? Not if I can make $365,000 out of it, it’s not!
Here are a few revolutionary new concepts in men’s and women’s clothing that I plan to Kickstart soon; watch this space!
Pants! We all know they were invented for men; hell, once upon a time you could get fined for indecency just for wearing them in public. These revolutionary new pants are designed with women in mind: they have a custom sizing system that ensures you always have to choose between a snug fit on the bottom OR at the waist, a complete dearth of pocket space, and they’re at least 25 per cent more expensive than men’s pants.
We get it: smashing a chest workout and then hitting the treadmill hurts. Why not control your pecs with this groundbreaking new garment: it has comfortable shoulder straps, underwire, and three closure options at the rear, guaranteed to reduce pec bounce by half.
Some people may say it’s just a bra for men, but then some people are just STUPID IDIOTS who don’t understand progress.
Look, we know that women’s leggings came first (long johns? Never heard of them), but then someone went and invented Meggings and, well, we just don’t want you getting confused and accidentally buying a pair of men’s leggings, you know?
No – these are absolutely, positively, leggings for women. In fact they contain a special peptide that causes men’s skin to burn uncontrollably should they even attempt to try them on. These are Just For Girls, am I right ladies!!!!
Sick of being shorter than your bros, or worse, having to lie about your height in your 25-words-or-less Tinder bio because anything less than 5’10” is just not masc enough?
Never fear! High heels are no longer the domain of your girlfriend: our groundbreaking new Guy He’ll shoe features a sturdy heel that will see you gain at least four inches where it counts (i.e. in your socks).
Bonus: the heel has a secret compartment within which you can store frangers, matches, bullets, or whatever other manly things you need to tote around while you soar above the crowd. What’s that? Strippers and drag queens have been storing things in their platform heels for years? WHATEVER, these are manly shoes for manly men.
They’re just like men’s jocks, but they’re for girls. They’re for girls because we say they are, even though they’re just Y-fronts with flowers on them.
You don’t get it? You just wear your boyfriend’s jocks or go buy them at K-Mart like any other woman or person who enjoys comfort and a bit more room at the front? Well you can all GO TO HELL!!! CAN’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT I’M DOING IS REVOLUTIONARY!!?
This must be how Vincent Van Gogh felt. And maybe if he had a pair of Ear-HIM-ngs™ he wouldn’t have hacked off his ear!