Diversity and inclusion are a performative brand’s favorite words: two phrases that make their way into so many stagnant initiatives and the mouths of allegedly progressive committee boards. But for brands like No Sesso, both have been deeply rooted in their DNA — long before the faux allyship era of the 2020s.

“The current state of diversity and inclusion feels like a Black Mirror episode,” says No Sesso co-founder Autumn Randolph. “HR can do better. They can almost chill at this point.” Admittedly, some progress has been made with regard to representation. But Randolph and Pia Davis, the other half of No Sesso, both agree: The work is far from done.

“No sex/no gender” is rule number one for this non-traditional fashion house run by the Black trans creatives. It was the Italian translation of this concept that gave them their name. Indeed, the brand is inclusive from the inside-out, from its all-embracing community of tastemakers to the choice of materials it works with.

No Sesso hit the scene in 2015, initially as a Los Angeles–based art collective for whom fashion design served as an artistic medium. Fast-forward to 2019 and Davis doodles a smiley face, replacing its playful grin with No Sesso’s puffy logo, creating what would become the label’s first ready-to-wear piece and still its most recognizable item: the beloved smiley tee. Currently up for grabs at major retailers like Nordstrom, the shirt made its runway debut during No Sesso’s Spring/Summer 2020 catwalk, known internally as the runway show that changed it all.

Image on Highsnobiety
Image on Highsnobiety
Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson, Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson

No Sesso SS20 marked the label’s first official foray into the fashion industry. It earned them a spot on the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s distinguished fashion calendar, a significant recognition for the small fashion house. “That was a huge moment,” Davis says. “Being one of the first trans artists to be on the fashion calendar was really major. It was kind of unheard of before then. And just being seen for the work we put out, the designs, and the conceptual art was very important, because they don’t just put anyone on that calendar. We were making history.”

Known for providing financial assistance to emerging fashion innovators, the CFDA kept No Sesso on its radar, placing it once more on the FW22 runway calendar and even honoring the brand as a 2022 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. So what is it about No Sesso’s eccentric universe that has the industry so enthralled? For Rashida Ward, longtime No Sesso collaborator and famed archivist behind the Instagram fashion page How to Be a Fucking Lady, it’s their embrace of Black women’s wildest fashion fantasies.

“We’re not really allowed to conceive of ourselves outside of things that are normally glamorous or even overtly sexual,” Ward explains. “It’s very much dictated by somebody else’s fantasy. As Black women, we don’t ever really get to be in charge of our own fantasies — like how we see ourselves and what we want to wear.”

Like Ward, the community around No Sesso — the brand’s grounding force — appreciates their talent for flipping the established ways of mainstream fashion to embrace the most unconventional of style dreams. “That’s what No Sesso is built off of: community,” Davis says. “It’s beautiful to see how it evolves over time and how people are still wearing No Sesso throughout the years.” Certainly, there’s been no stopping the full force of nonconforming style arbiters and celebrities like Kim Kardashian, SZA, Lizzo, and Chloe and Halle Bailey from appearing in No Sesso looks.

Image on Highsnobiety
Image on Highsnobiety
Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson, Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson

No Sesso’s designs are experimental yet sensual, narrating an authentic story in which the avant-garde meets the assured fashion girl. Feminine corsets pack main character energy, with extended laces and dainty trims. Barely-there slip dresses are made even sexier with risqué skin exposure. Meanwhile, No Sesso strips down corporate suiting to intentionally ill-fitting vests and slashed-up blazer jackets — looks that would surely earn you a lengthy violation email from corporate HR.

Textures and materials play a significant role for No Sesso, with fabrications ranging from fluffy patchwork fur to striped knits (and maybe even a hodgepodge of both). “I think texture has been really important to the brand since the very beginning,” says Davis. “We would mix denim with leather, or fur with sweater materials like knits. Or you might see all of those pieces in one garment. Texture tells a story within itself because there’s so many different levels to a lot of this design.”

Given this fancy for denim, No Sesso couldn’t resist the chance to play with Levi’s renowned jeans, linking with the acclaimed brand for an official collaboration. But, like the rest of the world, the Covid-19 pandemic caused Levi’s and No Sesso to slow the creation of their collection. Meetings were conducted virtually and samples shipped via mail. Despite the obstacles, the partnership ended up being a “pleasurable,” “fun,” and “easy” experience for No Sesso, per Randolph’s recollection. “It was nice to not just elaborate on an already made Levi’s piece, but to actually cut and sew, and to come up with our own designs,” Davis adds. “It feels more collaborative.”

As things started moving again, including the return of New York Fashion Week in 2021, the moment finally arrived. During their FW22 runway show, No Sesso finally unveiled their Levi’s collab, yet another huge accomplishment for the label. Randolph and Davis — true queens of sensuality — transformed Levi’s timeless pieces with lingerie inspiration. Corseted trucker jackets, the founders’ faves, sported lace-up detailing on the front and back, with cropping options for No Sesso’s more dauntless dressers. Meanwhile, dark-wash denim trousers supplied jorts behavior via transformable zips and flirty garter-style stitching.

Image on Highsnobiety
Image on Highsnobiety
Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson, Highsnobiety / Callum Walker Hutchinson

In a world where unoriginal collaborations thrive as cash-grabs, No Sesso’s femme, out-of-the-box spin on Levi’s denim restored my hope for future creative brand partnerships. And although the collab may have been a one-time thing, Randolph and Davis are still in talks with the denim company. In the meantime, I’m told an entirely new linkup is expected to make its grand appearance during the brand’s SS23 runway presentation.

Randolph and Davis are keeping things under wraps for now, but Davis did offer a bit of an appetizer to hold us over before the main course: Think “No Sesso sexy” meets Afrofuturism. “We love to show skin or cutouts or nice fabrics that look good on the body during certain seasons,” Davis says. “Expect very fun, futuristic silhouettes going down the runway. It's going to be our [first] show after being selected as the Fashion Fund finalist. We’re putting our all into this show. We’re excited to show it to the world.”

  • Photography:Callum Walker Hutchinson
  • Styling:Rashida Ward
  • Production:Taylor Brown and Perris Cavalier at The Morrison Group
  • Hair:Malcolm Marquez using Oribe at Opus Beauty
  • Makeup:Jacinda Pender using MAC Cosmetics and Rare Beauty
  • Manicure:Masuko Jo
  • Styling Assistant:Chris Jordan
  • Production Assistant:Alaura Wong
  • Shot at:Verge Studios
We Recommend
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Coco Gauff Is the Teen Titan Electrifying the Tennis World
    • Culture
  • german clothing brands
    22 German Clothing Brands Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Know
    • Style
  • japanese clothing brands
    37 Japanese Clothing Brands Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Know & Where to Buy Them
    • Style
  • best scandinavian brands feature rains sandqvist stutterheim
    40 Scandinavian Brands You Need to Know
    • Style
  • best american brands Alpha Industries Calvin Klein Converse
    The 21 Brands That Define Americana
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • a look at the Hikaru Matsumura x Melissa collaborative Mogu bag
    Hikaru Matsumura x Melissa’s Bag Collab Is a Satisfying, Y2K Trip
    • Style
  • boss ss24
    Sophia the Robot Is a BOSS Model Now
    • Culture
  • gucci ss24
    There's No Raining on Sabato De Sarno's Gucci Parade
    • Style
  • mains umbrella cane
    You Can Stand Under My $38K Mains Umbrella
    • Style
  • Guram Gvasalia
    Did Vetements' Guram Gvasalia & Kate Moss Just Go IG Official?
    • Culture
  • a look at the TAG Heuer x Team Izakawa watch collab
    TAG Heuer & Team Ikuzawa Celebrate Japan’s Lone Wolf With a Carrera Collab
    • Watches
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.