This Queer Knitwear Brand Is Unraveling the Fashion Industry’s Gender Binary

Luckily, the designer can already see the larger industry bending toward his will. Recalling a recent conversation with the buyer for Phoenix-based designer boutique /NOW OR NEVER, Guo tells me, “They were like, ‘Oh, we’re completely getting rid of our men’s vs. women’s sections in the future.’” Urban Outfitters, he informs me, now employs buyers specifically looking for non-gendered brands. (The designer has been preparing for an upcoming meeting with them.)

And as his binary-breaking designs find their proper audience, Guo has been taking stock of what his customers want. The brand’s accessibly priced Essential Ribbed Tank, for one, is a “signature piece” that Guo enjoys reinventing season after season. But customers have also been gravitating towards some of FANG’s more upscale offerings, ponying up cash for his delicate sheer pieces (excellent for layering) and for the Pointelle Loop Top (an early hit).

But Guo has a Master’s degree in Communications and knows that any growing brand needs an array of items at different price points, which is why you’ll find a plethora of FANG-branded accessories, from keychains to necklaces to socks and underwear. His first love will always be knitwear, but lately, he’s been pouring time into finding his brand’s “hero” piece. “We’ve spent a year trying to develop a handbag that’s truly iconic,” he teases. “It’s trial and error.”

For Guo, the end game would be opening a brick-and-mortar FANG boutique. “No matter what sort of wholesale opportunities we have, eventually, it’s a brand’s dream to really have their own presence,” he says. In the meantime, he’d love to just stage a real runway show. Having talked with designers like Private Policy duo Haoran Li and Siying Qu, Guo is aware of the burden (both financial and emotional) of producing one. Nevertheless, the “sheer production value” and “theatricality” of the shows he sees in markets like Paris continue to mesmerize him. “Working in this industry, a lot of times we’re jaded, and it’s like, ‘Oh…another [runway],’” he says. “But when someone actually puts on a great show, they can leave a really long-lasting impression.”