A Genderplayful Marketplace – Do you want it?

Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

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Update 12/4/10: I made a video for ya. (Well, it was originally for Genderfork, but it’s for you, too.)
Also: I’m naked in it.

This is the week of shaking trees. Two days ago, I put out a call for stable employment (for the first time in six years). My consulting work has gotten thin and bumpy, and it’s time for something to change.

There’s another idea that’s been on the table for awhile now, though, and I think it’s time I told you about it.

I want to build an online marketplace for gender-variant clothing solutions.

Not a store where I sell to you, but a service like Etsy and Ebay where we sell to each other, in a focused, supportive community. And while we’re at it, we also trade all sorts of tips and inspirations on how best to look the way we want, gender-be-damned.

You know what I’m talking about. Tuxes for hips and breasts. Size 16 extra-wide high heels. Custom alterations, custom orders, custom tailoring. Hot unisex indie designer labels. Hand-made t-shirts. That awesome skirt from your closet that doesn’t fit you anymore. A good chest binder. That amazing jacket you found at a thrift store for $5 that you want to resell. And while we’re at it, let’s bring in styles from every subculture that celebrates androgyny, which is pretty much all of them.

I’ve been thinking about this for a year.

I talked to the staff at Genderfork last winter, and we agreed it should be a separate-but-friendly project (Genderfork is run like activism; this would be run like a business).

I did a bunch of research on software options, and had to table the idea for awhile because a good multi-seller marketplace solution didn’t exist. But I’ve got one now. It came out in September. We can do this.

I have the web development, the project management, and the community organizing skills to make this happen. And I love the people this will serve. Relentlessly.

All I need is time and money.

You know. That stuff.

I’m in talks with a family member who can give me a loan, but they need to know that there’s enough support for the project to warrant the risk. Also? Loans are stressful. It would be awesome if we could offset it with some community support. So…

I would like to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter is a service that lets community members donate to projects (and receive thank-you gifts based on their donation amount), to meet funding goals. The goal and timeline are set in advance. If the goal is met, the donations go through and the project happens. If the goal isn’t met, the donations don’t happen, and we consider it closed.

This is a test.

If we can rally a ton of community support, I will go all in on this plan and make it happen as quickly as is humanly possible. If we get only moderate support, I will take a day job and build this project slowly, in my off-hours. If support seems slim, I’ll consider it closed.

**How You Can Help Without Giving Me Money**

Do you want this to happen? Help me convince the world that it matters, that we need these clothing solutions, and that the best way to get them is to come together and create them collaboratively.

Here’s how you can do that. I want you to make a video of yourself explaining why this is important to you. Use your phone, your webcam, or whatever you have nearby. Don’t make it fancy; just make it real. Tell us what matters to you, what you need, or what you have to give.

I will collect these videos and edit them together to make a promotional video for the kickstarter campaign. Or maybe multiple videos, if you send me lots of great stuff.

The more faces we can show, the better.

Your voice will help me convince others that this project deserves their support. That it needs to happen.

How to get your video to me…

Chances are your video will be bigger than the average reasonable email size. So here are some options (just pick one):

A) Use Google Docs to upload the file. Then share it with genderplayful@gmail.com

B) Get a Dropbox account, put it in the public folder, and email genderplayful@gmail.com the URL to that file.

C) Post it as a video reply to my YouTube video.

A Note on Privacy: I plan to use your face and your voice, but not your name, unless (maybe) you say it in the video.

Deadline: This Tuesday.  As Soon As You Can.  I’m going to start pushing things out to the world this week, so the faster the better, but I’ll continue to make use of material that comes in later, too. It all makes a difference.

This will matter.

Make a video. Do it for everyone who needs this marketplace, but isn’t ready to say so out loud. Do it this weekend. This is your art project. Go.

Love,
Sarah

Update: If making a video really isn’t your cup of tea, another thing you can do is write a paragraph explaining why this is important to you. You can leave that in a comment below or email me at genderplayful@gmail.com, and it will find the right audience. Thank you so much!

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Update! The fundraiser is live and we’re over here now: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

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58 Responses to “A Genderplayful Marketplace – Do you want it?”

  1. Ava Trimble Says:

    This concept doesn’t exactly apply to me, but I think it’s a fantastic idea, and I just want to throw that out there. It wouldn’t benefit me personally, but it could benefit a lot of people I know, and moreover, I see something something like your genderplayful marketplace as potentially being a part of something bigger, something important.

    The ready-to-wear market and the fashion industry have failed us in ways beyond counting – all of us, to one degree or another. There need to be alternatives, lots of them, to shopping at the mall, at boutiques, at off-price stores, and at couture houses. Alternatives that focus on people, rather than on the market. Alternatives that enable people to dress how they want, for who they are, regardless of sex, gender, size, or shape.

    Clothes that leave people feeling not-themselves are a huge problem in the genderqueer arena, but they’re a problem far beyond that as well, and I really hope that this marketplace is successful, and becomes a part of a larger movement away from consuming clothing as it is as thrown at us. Appearance, including clothing, is part of the nonverbal communication that shapes and informs our interactions as human beings – we should be able to communicate the messages that are important to us, rather than being limited by the fashion industry and its limited notions of style, fit, and identity.

    I don’t think a video from me – a comfortably cis-gendered woman who dresses to play up her curves and favors fluffy skirts – would quite fit your mission, but I’ll do everything I can to get the word out about this to people who would benefit very personally from what you’re doing. It’s wonderful.

  2. Rose Woods Says:

    I’ve never seen a group of people just exploding with vitality, creativity, uniqueness! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a retail store and been completely ignored by salessheep, or just plain asked to leave, because I didn’t seem like I would “find what I was looking for” at their store. Ack. I want to wear, design, make, sell, FIND things that make me feel good, whether it’s an unusual texture for a commonplace article, amazing detailing, clothing that transports me to a happy place. Yeah. This is a very good thing, Sarah Dopp. It doesn’t matter if I mate straight, I want the world to be a fun, safe, happy place for all players and playmates. I want to see people just loving who they are, and to feel free to show who they are NOT. This fat, pagan, tattooed, Republican, meat-eating, grandmama of two salutes and supports what you’re doing, and I’ll do my level best to get the word out to all my communities and networks.

  3. Jo Moreau Says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea!
    I am a big barely butch androgyne with large breasts, wide shoulders, no waist to speak of and hips less than my waist measurement. I would love a business suit or two that fitS like a glove. 3 button jacket, grouses, vest, masculine style, unusually pretty suiting fabric! By producing the same items for both conventionally male and female bodies, I could get a ‘womans’ jacket and ‘mens’ trousers.
    I am also a dandy!
    I have a fancy for steampunk! I would love a double breasted silk vest in peacock blue or claret.
    I want beautifully tailored, dandified masculine clothes that will fit me and look like they were meant for me. I love silk, cotton lawn, twill, tweed, English leather, fine Australian merino wool. I also love male dress from the Jane Austen era.

  4. sangemo Says:

    Although I am 44 years old, I am newly awakened to this. As I search to buy pieces of clothing that at long last feel right to me, I discover my real self in the mirror. What an amazing feeling this is. How comfortable, how nice this satisfaction.

    I wonder if I would have had the courage/wisdom to do this twenty years ago, what Life would have held for me.

    I would greatly appreciate such a website as you describe and hope to patronize it.

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