all photos contributed by veer nyc
veer nyc, a start-up fashion retail company that promises “androgyny curated for women, by women,” exploded onto the scene just a couple of months ago, but the idea behind the venture has been brewing for years in the brilliant androgynous brains of Jenny McClary and Allie Leepson, business partners and insanely adorable couple extraordinaire. The pair dreamed up the concept together because of a personal need, after years of searching for the right clothes and not finding anything that fit their style quite right. While brunching together one morning in Brooklyn, where they live and where veer nyc is currently based, the two got to talking about their frustrations in trying to find a balance in womenswear and meswear to suit each of their own personal styles. Androgyny is a hot word in fashion right now, but McClary and Leepson felt that retailers and designers were offering styles that were too masculine of center or too “tomboy” for their comfort levels. “We just decided that if nobody out there was really going to offer us a place to go for our own styles, we were going to start it ourselves,” Jenny told me. “Surely we weren’t the only ones in need.”
And just like that, veer nyc was born. Well, sort of. The idea is there, and McClary and Leepson are dedicated to making their dream a reality, but they need the funds to actually purchase their first collection. They’re in the process of running a very successful Indiegogo campaign (they hit their halfway mark of $5,000 yesterday and they still have 22 days left!) which you can contribute to if you’re into this idea — and let’s be real, we’re all So Into This Idea. They’re also working hard to get the word out about veer nyc. One of the ways they’re publicizing the brand is by hosting their very first Androgynous Fashion Show this month! The show will take place on Sunday, February 24th from 7-10pm at The Dalloway (525 Broome St., SoHo, New York). Kim Stolz (formerly of America’s Next Top Model and co-owner of The Dalloway) will be walking along with a number of other incredible women showcasing some of the brand’s future looks! There’s a $10 suggested donation at the door and the bar will be charging happy hour prices on drinks all night long. You can RSVP for the event on Facebook or write to info [at] veernyc [dot] com.
If you’re bummed because you don’t live in (or near!) New York and thus won’t be making it to the show at the end of the month, turn that frown upside down because we’ve got quite the treat for you right here and now! McClary and Leepson were kind enough to invite Autostraddle into their Brooklyn home and studio to show off their work space and cute faces, and to answer some of our pressing questions about veer nyc.
AS: What is your dream for veer nyc? What does the future look like?
Jenny McClary: veer nyc is starting online, but within a year will open up a physical shop in New York City. We have big, detailed visions…I can’t wait to buy some neon for the wall. For real, I have neon studios bookmarked.
Allie Leepson: Neon dreams!
JM: We are also looking forward to that physical storefront, as it will include a coffee bar. The idea behind this is that it can be a place to foster a community. Allie is an artist so it’s natural for us both to envision this to be a working gallery. veer is very culture-based.
AL: Ultimately, we will also have our own designs produced under the brand of veer nyc.
AS: When you say you want veer to be a place that fosters community, what does that mean to you?
JM: Community to us means comfort. As queer women, we are constantly fighting a battle to be comfortable with who we are, and hoping that other people are comfortable with who we are as well. The only way to achieve this starts with finding that comfort within yourself. The goal of veer nyc is to curate every piece with understanding of size and presentation concerns. We want our market and our community to be able to come to veer nyc trusting that they can leave with pieces that will help them express themselves in the most accurate way possible.
AL: We also hope to contribute to the growing acceptance and awareness of variations in non-gendered fashion. We are going to totally ignore the intended gender specification of the lines we are pulling items from. We are selling items from men’s, women’s, and unisex lines, but they will all be offered to women based only upon shape, size and style.
Is it weird to be business partners with your romantic partner? What is the best part?
JM: Allie is the person that inspires me most. She’s visually a very creative person and she has taught me to think in a similar way. To be able to work [together] makes the entire experience easier and pushes us to create even more. The qualities that make us so compatible personally and romantically also contribute to our success and vision for veer.
AL: Jenny is for sure my #1 inspiration. We both work so well together. It’s so easy for us to talk things out and make things happen. I fully agree with what Jenny said about our qualities making us so compatible but there are also differences in how we think and work that allow us to feed off one another and make everything come together. For example, Jenny is incredibly well-spoken and a great writer, neither of which are my strong points. Our strengths together allow us to execute our vision.
JM: We really like to spend every second with each other so it’s a total win. We can’t even pretend we like time apart. There, we said it. Don’t judge us.
Who are your fashion icons, both real and fictional?
JM: My first fashion icon was Batman/Bruce Wayne. I still like wearing black and carrying a grappling gun with me, but I’d like to say I’ve evolved a bit. I also liked to wear suits when I was a kid…that’s the Bruce Wayne in me. He seems to have departed though. I’m no longer comfortable in suits.
AL: My first icon was Brad from Home Improvement aka the oldest brother. He had this really sweet hairstyle that was shaved all around and left long on top…and in a ponytail. He was my original alternative [lifestyle] hairstyle icon. Unfortunately, my parents made me settle with a mushroom cut. Now, we share the same style icons. Kate Lanphear, Harmony Boucher, Freja, Tasya Van Ree and Tegan and Sara — cliche, we know.
What is the worst fashion trend in the world?
JM: Wedge sneakers.
AL: Rompers. How are you supposed to use a public restroom in those?
If veer nyc was an animal, what would it be?
If you could describe veer nyc using one word, what would it be?