From the brand’s very name – translating from Italian to ‘no sex/gender’ – No Sesso have proven their dedication to subverting fashion’s conventions. Their creations spotlight diversity, dreaming up sensual experiments with classic silhouettes to produce art that honours the wearer. From tailored men’s suiting to the iconic OTD (One Titty Dress), the Los Angeles brand No Sesso is no stranger to playing with contrast, making use of various proportions and textures to curate looks that range from sexy to utilitarian. Their latest collection centres on Black Punk, making use of a moodier colour palette, dramatic cut-outs and a wild range of hemlines to explore fresh, energetic aesthetics that propel the brand’s vision. Here, we talk to No Sesso's Pia Davis and Autumn Randolph about capturing creativity, materialising their storytelling, and the ethos from which the brand was carved.
Let's start by going back to your beginnings – what led you to work in this industry?
Pia Davis: I always knew I would be a designer at a very young age. However, as I got older, I wanted to create designs for people like me, but there was not much representation.
Autumn Randolph: I believe my dance background and attention to fashion, beauty and direction within those mediums led me to all my current creative work today. Meeting Pia and this constant direction of where I was putting my energy led me to work in this particular industry at this particular time.
Even the brand's name – Italian for ‘no sex/gender’ – seems to underpin your pledge to free-form, diversity-driven clothing. How did you come up with it? What does the name mean to you?
Pia: No Sesso is to wear what you desire. There is no right or wrong way to dress or look. It's about being yourself and not letting society's standards be put on your appearance.
This season's collection cultivates new depths to No Sesso's identity to produce a dark energy infused with an unapologetic edge. What inspired this showcasing of Black Punk?
Pia: Autumn and I wanted to design this new collection with so many ideas, concepts, and inspiration. We wanted to show that it's just as powerful to be in touch with your darker side. Autumn: We are just starting again. It feels like a rebirth, so we are exploring different parts of ourselves and seeing how we materialise them and where we will go. That's necessary for us.
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You've played with a diverse range of materials in your work; from delicate lace and fur blending with punchy incorporations of leather and denim to create multi-faceted looks with layered narratives. What role does this contrast in textures play in your storytelling?
Pia: Textures and creating our own textiles have always been a part of the No Sesso DNA and a part of making our garments come to life. Seeing some of the same silhouettes in different fabrics is always fun. Playing with textures just creates the mood and aesthetic for the season's concept/inspiration.
Autumn: We are very eclectic in our thinking and always evolving, so we go with how we feel and something that strikes curiosity in us, whether structurally, texturally, or prints and colours! Whatever comes, we want it to feel like a wave, and we are constantly trying to challenge ourselves so that the experience and growth are eternal.
This notion of contrast appeared again in the pieces you created in collaboration with Levi's, with utilitarian items such as the denim trucker jacket being reimagined through lingerie-inspired corset detailing. Can you tell us more about the vision behind this collaboration?
Pia: Lingerie is always reimagined in our collections. We like to experiment with the style lines you see in traditional corseting and make it modern. The juxtaposition of lingerie and denim together made the collection unique and original.
Autumn: Pia and I love mixing evening and everyday wear, like denim and suiting with undergarments (mainly vintage), so our staple concepts had been brewing. We added our love for convertible details to the designs giving each piece its own way of corsetry through the zippers or lacing.
Your most recent collection sports a moodier colour palette that showcases a new dimension to the brand, contrasting more electric shades seen in earlier work. What led to the decision to shift to deeper, more sombre tones?
Pia: It's just where we are in life. The aesthetic also just called for darker colours and earth tones. We like to play with different shades of brown as it resembles our skin and the illusion of being nude. We wanted to see silhouettes and colour combinations that we would wear. The colour therapy in our collections is often based on the moods we feel and want to express. That said, future collections will continue to range in colour.
Autumn: We were focused on a toned-down palette because our internal clock was also shifting. A shedding of skin, I believe our next collection will be a play of the grounding and clarity that came after.
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Your designs are lavished with cut-outs; deft slashings of fabric reveal peeks of the torso or thigh, producing unapologetically sexy looks that celebrate the body. How do you play with this notion of the risqué in your pieces?
Pia: We make tasteful risqué art. The shapes are inspired by statuesque figures and images we collect. We love to experiment with cut-out shapes and find new ways to make our pieces futuristic. No Sesso is all about celebrating the body and just having fun with style, so yes, you may see classic looks like our OTD and super mini skirt, along with fun cut-outs in traditional men's suiting.
Autumn: We have always wanted to push the envelope in the No Sesso way, which is culturally pioneering, empowering, artistic, and always celebratory. So when we show skin, it's always that statement behind it.
Futuristic experiments with proportion feature throughout each garment – figure-hugging details play with boxy, avant-garde tailoring to produce a wild range of silhouettes. How do you use structure to your advantage when designing?
Pia: We like to experiment with proportions, making the garment really oversized or micro mini to bring a newness to the looks. This past season it was really fun to play with traditional work wear, like shrinking a button-up dress shirt to making pants start right under the chest.
Diversity is established well into the brand's ethos, having demonstrated a strong commitment to non-conformity with designs liberated from the confines of gender. What steps do you think the industry should be taking to provide a better sense of inclusion in fashion?
Autumn: There is a commitment to diversity. The people are good at taking matters into their own hands, which is what the brand is established on at the end of the day. Our peers are also taking steps to help each other and not wait for corporations.
What are your dreams for No Sesso in the future?
Pia: My dream for No Sesso is to continue to inspire others and to become more of a global brand. To have more access as well so we can scale and have the brand be accessible to everyone.
Autumn: My dreams for No Sesso are to become a household name that is memorable for making strides in the industry and for us to be able to pass torches and be a hub for growth and empowerment to whoever may need it.
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