The Phluid Project Store Opening
Photos and Article by Austin Velarde
NEW YORK– The Phluid Project, a gender-free store on 684 Broadway in Noho, opened on Mar. 8, 2018.
Founded by CEO Rob Smith, former top merchant at Macy’s, The Phluid Project is being called “the first genderless store in the world.”
When asked what prompted him to create the Phluid Project, Smith said “I started a journey a year ago of self-discovery. Basically, I quit my job, threw on a backpack and just started to wander and explore.”
Smith wanted a higher sense of purpose in his life that entailed more than just making money.
This craving for self-actualization prompted him to travel the world and learn about ancient religions and culture.
Ending up in the Amazon of Peru, Smith said he learned the lesson to “lead with your heart, not your head; do what you love.”
After this enlightenment in Peru, he woke up one morning and wrote out the script for the Phluid Project.
Smith said this script is the “manifestation of everything I love and believe in.”
Based on a social code that stems from the Phluid Project’s values of acceptance, balance, integrity, intention and openness, Smith wants all customers of the Phluid Project to share in his “manifestation and be unapologetically themselves.
You just be yourself; no-one else is there to judge you.”
Described as “A GQ kind of guy, with an effervescent personality” by longtime friend, Richie Rich, Smith’s Phluid Project came as no surprise to him.
According to Rich, Smith did not create the store because of the current changing mindset toward the LGBTQ community, but rather because “he has the best heart ever” and “everyone else is just catching up.”
When asked if his latest Currency Collection will be sold at the Phluid Project, Rich said “She’s coming here!
Its gonna be the first Rich debut in the world!”
The Phluid Project’s clothes are not designed by a singular person, but rather by a collective effort from a group of people.
The Noho based store houses clothes not only from the Phluid project but also from other third-party brands.
While the third-party brands have their own systems for sizing, the Phluid Project’s clothing has a sizing simply scaled zero through four.
Numerical sizing eliminates the words extra small and extra large, along with the body shaming that may come along with those terms.
Size zero is the equivalent to an extra small and size four is the equivalent to an extra large.
Smith describes the aesthetic of the Phluid Project’s clothing as “gender-free, clean and simple” and hopes that everyone smiles and feels good when they see the graphic tees in the collection.
Looking toward the future, Smith sees the Phluid Project “connecting with more young people in New York and this country and around the world” along with “reaching out through our website as far as possible and creating a really robust store.”