If you’d be walking down a wide Berlin street on a summery day and in the distance you’d see a figure. A figure that you can’t decide if it’s a man or woman standing there graciously, well, this scenario could sum up Leni Bolt’s looks and aesthetics. Leni Bolt is twenty two year old genderless designer from Berlin, Germany whom I recently interviewed regarding his clothing line “Boltish”, what gender means and fashion. *Side note, in this article I refer to Leni as it, due to Leni referring to itself being genderless, not a homage to it from the Addam’s family, rather contrary.
A couple of years ago Bolt started “Boltish”, Leni’s own creative outlet for fashion. “I want everyone to wear these clothes that I design, I’m not so much into couture.” Bolt’s brand BOLTISH speaks its personality, queer, happy and colorful and for everyone. The designs are fun, colorful, like too much colorful MOSCHINO for the alternative community.
Bolt came from a small town in Germany before starting to study Fashion Design and exploring his own unique personality and sexual orientation. Small towns everyone have the white picket fence curse of viewing people who don’t fit the norms as outcasts but that’s where big cities strive upon. Berlin was an obvious choice for Bolt and that’s where it bases his brand out of a very fitting home.
Muses for Bolt’s non-western design and image come from the East, more precisely Japan and their Kawaii culture with references from Manga and Anime. These inspirations seem very fitting for Bolt’s perspective of fashion and life in general since there are a lot of gender boundary references and scenarios within Anime and Manga. Something that wouldn’t be found in German mainstream shows and books. Bolt’s next plan is to start a choker brand something that’s always been popular in the alternative community for obvious reasons.
Bolt is a fine example of the bigger picture here, that not all of us fit into gender stereotypes or social structures of gender. When I’d shop in the Men’s section of stores like WOOD WOOD and COS the pants would look like Aladdin’s, which isn’t comfortable or compelling for me. One day my friend told me to try a pair on and they fit very comfortably but they were from the Women’s section. Sometimes you need to set out of your comfort zone to feel truly comfortable and it has nothing to do with sexual orientation.