Chicago designer celebrates unisex, genderless clothes
Billed as clothing designed with passion, Chicago designer Letesha Renee launched her label Eugene Taylor Brand in summer 2015. The collection was a study of the ’70s aesthetic, a time period Renee says was “one of the best eras of dressing.” The clothes were characterized by flared cuts, bright pops of color and metallics. Following that, she branched off into streetwear, which is where she hit her stride, becoming known for creating hip, unisex, genderless clothes.
The line continues to carry a ’70s aesthetic — bright colors, tie-dye, denim and rhinestones — and is an examination of unisex streetwear, with spacious silhouettes, nods to athleisure and graphic Tshirts. Renee also uses her brand to magnify pop culture, like her 2018 “If I Were Diana” collection inspired by Diana Ross, and her Euphoria dress, based on the HBO show of the same name.
Her current collection, titled “4ALL 4EVA,” embodies that inclusivity. The collection, mostly in a neutral color palette with bursts of tangerine, is made up of tailored, oversize pieces. Standout pieces include the Painter’s Jersey, a black, roomy muscle tank that’s emblazoned with Renee’s 4ALL logo in crystals and splattered with white paint. The Bungee Pants are another favorite, black joggers that are adjustable with bungee cords at the waist and ankle. Then there’s the black Tag Top and Tag Pant sweat set; both pieces feature multiple pockets and white tags that cleverly share information about the line.
“I wanted to take it deeper into gender-neutral clothing and really give the person wearing the pieces more than one way to wear it — in a feminine or masculine way,” she says.
Above all, she makes garments that reflect her lifestyle and her creative community. “Everyday people for me happen to be creatives,” she explains. “But my clothing is for all — it’s for everyone.”
Most of what she creates for the line is a response to what she thinks “needs to change within the city and what personally affects” her.
She believes Chicago should be more “loving and understanding,” find ways to “uplift each other” and “be supportive of each other’s journey, even if we don’t understand them.”
Creating unisex clothes is “my stance on equality,”
Renee explains. “That’s why I transitioned into trying to be a genderless clothing brand. I try to do my good in a way that’s comfortable for me.” Tara C. Mahadevan is a freelance writer.
A tulle cape from the “If I Were Diana” collection.
Oversize cuts and pops of bright orange star in the “4ALL 4EVA” collection.