How The Phluid Project’s gender-free message goes beyond retail

Retail Gets Real episode 217: Creating an inclusive retail experience with The Phluid Project

When Rob Smith attended the Burning Man festival a few years ago, he had no idea the journey he was about to embark on. When he returned home, he gave a few months’ notice to his job and began traveling around the world. While backpacking through places such as India, Central America and Nepal, Smith created his concept of The Phluid Project. Smith joins the Retail Gets Real podcast to discuss the evolution of the company and what’s next for the gender-free brand.

The Phluid Project was born through Smith’s passion for social justice for LGBTQIA+ youth and his experience in retail leadership. The company aims to empower individuals through freedom and self-expression. All of the brand’s apparel is genderless, making a safe, judgement-free shopping experience for its consumers.

Learn more at NRF Retail Converge

Hear The Phluid Project's Rob Smith discuss how to amplify the inclusion agenda at NRF's new virtual event, June 21-25. Learn more.

Top of mind for Smith was how gender is stereotypically portrayed in apparel marketing. He recognizes the trauma this can bring to LGBTQIA+ youth as they struggle to shop in places inconsistent with their identity while being bombarded by gendered messaging.

Though The Phluid Project store closed in 2019, its reach is expanding more than ever. In addition to direct-to-consumer sales from the website, the brand will also be featured in more than 5,000 retail locations, including Target, Nordstrom and Saks Off Fifth.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about The Phluid Projects’ efforts to support LGBTQIA+ youth, the history of fashion gendering and Smith’s belief that Gen Z will change the world.

More from the podcast

4 retail executives on how to turn off work
 
out of office
Retail Gets Real 229: Execs from BJ’s, P&G, The Container Store and Carol’s Daughter share boundary setting tips.
Read more
How ‘circular commerce’ helps retailers protect their brands
 
Resale items
Retail Gets Real 228: Trove CEO Andy Ruben on resale’s dual promise of profitability and sustainability.
Read more
A closer look at navigating the return to the office
 
work from home
Retail Gets Real 227: PwC’s Sushil Ahuja and Elizabeth Yates on accommodating and adjusting to the new office dynamic
Read more