Revolutionary does not begin to describe the team behind No Sesso. “Everyone’s like ‘unisex this!’ and ‘unisex that!’ when in reality, anyone should be able to wear whatever they want to wear whenever they want to wear it,” says Pierre Davis, the brand’s founder. “We live that and we show that without having to always scream it. It’s natural for us.”
Six years since its inception, No Sesso has grown to be a culture-shaping brand within the fashion industry, carving an impactful, unique niche for themselves under the direction of Davis and Autumn Randolph. “We are a community powered brand that empowers people of all colors, shapes and identities through fashion,” the brand explains on its Depop profile. In its evolution, the brand’s voice and vision have become increasingly defined without ever letting go of its true form: sheer artistry.
“It’s like on a whole new level,” Davis says of No Sesso’s upcoming collection, far different from the brand’s popular electric and colorful ready-to-wear designs. “You grow and you just always want things to get better and better.”
No Sesso began as a school project for Davis, who attended the Art Institute in Seattle in 2008. Tasked with designing a collection based on inspiration and research from retail stores, she recalls not being drawn to anything. Left uninspired by the lack of innovation present in designs at the time, an idea began to spiral in her mind, eventually culminating in the launch of No Sesso in 2015 as a way to break boundaries and fill a gap in the market.
Translated from Italian to mean “No Sex,” No Sesso was founded as a genderless, diversity-first brand, constantly pushing to amplify marginalized — particularly Black — voices within the fashion industry. Although traditionally feminine in their popular designs, the brand encourages all to dress in whichever way feels most comfortable and natural to them. Because to Davis and her team, the labels of “men’s clothing” versus “women’s clothing” are simply unnecessary. Clothing is clothing; why define it?
Since its beginning, No Sesso has grown tremendously, showing at New York Fashion Week twice in 2019, then debuting the brand’s 2020 collection in Los Angeles the following year. As Davis describes, LA is their home, the epicenter of the brand’s mission, driven by the city’s culture and influence on fashion. No Sesso’s Fall/Winter 2020 campaign drew inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance, telling The Cut at the time that the collection was motivated by “Black people shining through closed doors and making themselves seen and heard...Underground artists are emerging, and people are tapping into their power and creating waves and breaking boundaries.” Showing the collection at Moca Geffen was a career highlight for Davis, who speaks so passionately about that moment.
But No Sesso is just getting started.
Most recently, the brand took part in “Sized: An Exhibition of Works for the Home and Life,” an art exhibition in Los Angeles, where their now-iconic asymmetrical dress was paired alongside a new Cumulonimbus Cloud Puffy Coat. It was a moment both Davis and Randolph are immensely proud of, as it signals No Sesso’s new shift back into artistry, less constricted by fashion industry rules.
“We have fun with massive runway shows. We always love to see people react to the looks, the attitude, the drama, the music — everything that goes hand in hand,” Davis says. “[But] it’s nice to see the work in different contexts. Versus on a body … it just gives it more life, more story and shows that it’s really art and not just fast fashion.”
Randolph adds, “There’s just more realms that we’re swimming in. From the crafting moments, to the very couture moments, to doing it with our hands and sending it to factories — just exploring all of those visions.”
More collaborations are coming down the pipeline for No Sesso, including fun art collections and human interaction pieces. Rather than focus solely on runway and ready-to-wear, No Sesso hopes to make every garment a full experience, putting them on display for all to interpret and appreciate through their own eyes. But perhaps the most exciting next step: No Sesso’s upcoming couture-inspired collection.
The team spent months draping dresses before even casting one stitch. Not having to abide by a traditional fashion calendar allowed them to take editing and curation more seriously. And now, over a year since the collection’s first inception, No Sesso’s first couture experience is almost complete.
“This collection is gorgeous... but it’s more than just beauty,” Davis says. “Everything was basically hand-picked, every single fabric, finishing, every detail for every piece.”
The collection incorporates a wide spectrum of fabrics and styles, sticking close to No Sesso’s ethos of diversity, not only of human experience but of aesthetics. One can expect a beautiful combination of ostrich feathers, silk charmeuse, and elegant construction.
“It’s decadent and delicate with all of those layers and some harsh or hard finishes with the jewels. Everything has layers.”
She continues, “This is who we are as people. We don't stay the same, our moods change, what we’re going through changes. We like to design going off of that experience, and what’s going on in the world. It’s about how we feel. It’s like an outfit, a diary sometimes.”
All of it — from the art installations to future collections — serves as an important reminder to the fashion community: The world needs to see more Black designers. And even further, it needs to give them space and resources to flourish and to create change, whether through mentorship, funding, or access.
“There’s so many people that have been doing what we do but never had the platform to go as far as they should have,” Davis says. “[We do this] so that the next generation can see that they're also able to do anything that they put their mind to. We can all come together and create and make beautiful things. And it shouldn't have to be on someone else’s schedule, or just a battle to get to the top.”
Randolph adds, “Knowing that you belong in any space if you work hard enough [is so important]. And even if you can't get in that space, you're still working hard enough, and you’re [still enough]. You can still go places and touch people.”