KNGSLEY queers-up the ‘wife-beater’ tank

27-year-old New-York based designer, centres the Black, queer, femme body in his reimagined tanks.


When you thinks of a tank top your mind goes straight to the ‘wife-beater’ stereotype. A symbol of machoism and toxic masculinity. This fashion staple was in need of a shake-up, to say the least. A redefinition to rid it from its outdated heterified past. The new K.NGSLEY drop does just that. New-York based designer Kingsley Gbadegesin states, that few brands within the industry ‘exist to serve the Black, queer femme and trans community’. His work celebrates these marginalised voices and fills the void within the industry.

K.NGSLEY is ‘Black-owned brand birthed from the vibrancy and community of activism and the club scene’. His work is both fashionable and political and promotes the idea of the inclusivity of clothing. The designer has taken the traditionally masculine tank top and feminized it to perfection. With chic cut-outs and sleek shapes, the tanks challenge a preconceived notion of the wardrobe classic. The tonality of the tops are, similarly, as beautiful as their structure. With black, olive, white and navy’s, the top is muted and lets its form do all the work.

Though I am unsure I would look half as good as the models who present the garments, they are SELLING it to me… big time! Artistically the imagery is simply charming. Combined with a nostalgic 90s vibe and black excellence, the lucidity of the photographs is jaw-dropping. Note to Annie Leibovitz, this is how you capture the beauty of Melanin!

In a year where violence towards such communities have reach staggering levels of exposure and the systemic biases within are western culture have been questioned and challenged- Gbadegesin continues the conversation through his fashions. His designs are used as a vehicle to reimage and reclaim the Black, queer, femme body.

The 27-year-old designer has spent 2020 sedulously working to the support and continue champion the Black Lives Matter movement through his organisation, “On the Ground” who, with a team of volunteers, have organised candle vigils and support protestors. Gbadegesin has previously worked for Versace, Celine and Loewe, hence it is by no surprise that his clothing is greatly impressive- creating an item that is positioned firmly on my wish-list.

He states “This collection—made for the girls, by the girls—is an active redefinition of what it means to exist as Black, and Queer, and Femme all at once. Channelling the power of our community through the power of fashion, we are creating space and building community for those who have been pushed to the margins of the society and culture they’ve long influenced and inspired.”. For further investigation, click here

Images courtesy of Instagram (@k.nglsey)

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