In the 1990’s, at a time of the grunge aesthetic of baggy clothes, skate wear and hip hop, there was a “brief magic moment,” as actress Chloe Sevigny puts it, that the pioneering independent fashion line X-Girl had emerged. X-Girl was founded and created by stylist Daisy von Furth and Sonic Youth’s bassist Kim Gordon in 1993, and was born as an off-shoot of a Los Angeles men’s streetwear brand X-Large. X-Girl produced garments that opposed to the general grunge aesthetic, and aimed to appeal to women looking for more stylish yet casual, inexpensive clothes; every piece in the X-Girl line was $60 and under (i). The clothing line was emerging at a time of ‘Girl Power’ and a part of the early ‘90s feminist movement happening at the time. Their clothes were considered right in that moment; timeless and a very smart design, according to one of their pattern makers, Susan Cionciolo.
“We wanted to do clothes that were fitted and casual. But fitted wasn’t meant to be ‘tight,’ even though sometimes the clothes came out that way. There’s this whole tendency with skater looks that everything needs to be over-sized, but we wanted to do stuff that was more fitted for girls. Stuff that was a little modish, more like ’60s meets preppy; A-line skirts and A-line dresses, which was what we thought would flatter the most body types.” – Kim Gordon
Daisy and Kim often spent times shopping together in that certain era of New York, often scouting for dead-stock and 70’s t-shirts. They were approached by the brother of the X-Large founder, knowing their interest in fashion, and the three, plus artist Adam Silverman, and eventually a team of mutual friends worked on the fashion line together. They took the opportunity to create clothes they’d like to wear and could be available and affordable for women.
A community of well-known creative people were involved in X-Girl including filmmakers, Mike Mills, Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, Mike D from The Beastie Boys and many more. Chloe Sevigny was chosen to be a model for the fashion line when she was still in high school. She had embodied a sort of ‘street, grunge girl who was androgynous’ which was what they were looking for.
Their first show for their first collection was held on a sidewalk in SoHo and was filmed by MTV’s House of Style show. As reflected by Kim, they felt the street was appropriate for the show, which was meant to be playful as they didn’t take themselves seriously as designers (ii). In 1994 X-Girl opened their first store in L.A, and a year later at New York on Lafayette Street, becoming a cool hang-out spot downtown.
X-Girl was one of the first streetwear fashion lines to become “big in Japan” and was sold to a Japanese company in 1998, when Kim and Daisy were no longer interested in continuing the line. Even though the original X-Girl line was short-lived, it never completely left; the brand is brought back and is continuing production in Japan, however, with higher price points. Their garments are still owned and remembered by many women today in high regard. The significance of what Daisy and Kim wanted and set out to do has left a lasting effect. Being a highly influential fashion line of that time, X-Girl’s legacy still lives on.
(i) Thompson, E & Swerdloff, A, 2012, An Oral History of X-Girl, viewed 24 August 2014, http://www.papermag.com/2012/08/an_oral_history_of_x-girl.php
(ii) O’Brien, P & Seymour, C, 1994, ‘Are You Xperienced?’, Rolling Stone, Oct 6, pp. 60-62, viewed 24 August 2014, via ProQuest database
X-Girl 1994 fashion show covered by MTV’s House of Style. Models wearing X-Girl clothing. Viewed 24 August 2014, http://www.mtv.com/photos/house-of-style-episode-31/1686726/7206585/photo/