LaneFortyFive: An interview with founder, Tanmay Saxena

By Elisha Sharma

Coats, trousers and shirts for all genders - we explore the rising popularity of unisex clothing and speak to Tanmay Saxena, founder and designer of a London based brand, LaneFortyFive, as he prepares to launch his fourth collection.

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In today’s society, ideas about gender are completely different to what they used to be, with more and more people identifying as gender-neutral, saying that ideas of gender should no longer be limited to male or female and that people can feel as though they’re neither a boy or a girl.

In the fashion industry, these ideologies are now being reflected within ranges of unisex clothing, which are becoming increasingly popular as designers are creating clothing which can be worn by both male and female customers, while still looking flattering for different body types and shapes. We can argue that one of the main reasons unisex clothing is becoming more recognised is that society is more relaxed about different gender ideologies.

 LaneFortyFive is a unisex clothing brand which was founded by clothing designer Tanmay Saxena. The 4th collection for LaneFortyFive, named Dichotomy is released on the 30th of November 2017, and here at From The Streets we were lucky enough to receive an invite to the launch.

Tanmay’s designs show bold blocks of colour which contrast together in an elegant and stylish way, but importantly, can be styled by both males and females. The versatile tailoring of the clothing allows the wearer to style it in their own unique sense, without the clothes looking too oversized on a woman or too tight on a man. Each garment has its own inspiration behind it, such as the Relway Jacket inspired by; “An old photograph found at a flea market in Brugge, 9 resistance saboteurs c.1941 WWII, inspecting the wreckage of a train they brought down in the dark of the previous night in the French Alps. 3 of them wore very peculiar jackets...” and the Portobello jacket inspired by; “In 1739, Britain won a spectacular naval battle over Spain at a spot called Porto Bello in Panama. The following year a farmer north of London named his farm in honour of this military feat. The peculiar architecture in the area, and the peculiar look of this overshirt”

When people ask I always say I think about food, and how you don’t go into a restaurant and see specific food for men and specific food for women, so I thought why should it be like that for clothing?”
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The LaneFortyFive 4th collection launch was a stylish and exciting event, held in the unusual location of the historical public toilet turned bar near Spitalfields market in London. The new collection that had been designed by Tanmay Saxena and handmade in London was showcased and allowed guests to familiarise themselves with the clothing. When speaking to Tanmay about how he became influenced to create a unisex clothing line, he replied; “When people ask I always say I think about food, and how you don’t go into a restaurant and see specific food for men and specific food for women, so I thought why should it be like that for clothing?”  
We had the chance to ask Tanmay some questions about his clothing line, and the new collection.

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What’s your favourite aspect about making unisex clothing?

One of the favourite aspects from a selfish point of view is that it indeed makes you feel and realise that you in albeit a small way, are doing your bit towards Equality of genders. The other point is bringing both the male and female anatomy and silhouettes onto the same cutting table. Also, mixing colours and shapes and design features on the fabric that are usually thought to be masculine or feminine pushes the envelope in its own way.

 What motivated you to create your clothing line?

I personally couldn’t find a brand that would compliment my own style. Something would be amiss. Too flashy or too self-advocating. I prefer not easily seeing the brand’s label on a clothing item whereas brands prefer putting a label on the chest pocket.

 What’s the idea/inspiration behind Dichotomy?

It’s the first time I have used 2 different, contrasting coloured fabrics in the same garment. The two colours represent 2 contrasting emotions that sometimes co-exist within us.
Personally, something happened with me this year where I witnessed that dichotomy and that led me to come up with the collection.

Why do you believe unisex clothing is becoming increasingly popular?

I think the aesthetics around it does convey the thoughts and philosophies a person may adhere to. So, some people wear them for that reason. Another may be the increasing influence of minimalism as a lifestyle concept. Unisex clothing does tend to be very minimal in terms of attachments and shapes.

Do you believe that soon unisex clothing will overtake male and female clothing?

I do not think so. And I hope it does not too. For me, unisex clothing is a separate niche rather than trying to cannibalise over other styles if clothing. After all, if one underlying aspect of unisex clothing is “Equality”, it would be defeating that very purpose if we wish for, or if it indeed takes over male and female clothing.

Who is your biggest fashion inspiration?

To be honest, no one in particular really. Anyone who knows their style truly in a composite sense impress me. The unity of inside and outside.

How would you describe your own style?

Understated. Subtle. Deep and not just on the surface. Like I said, there should be unity of inside and outside, which I naturally go for personally.

Why is it important to you to make clothes without that aren’t limited to one gender?

Anything that nature gave us - we never can look at it and say, “that one there is for men, and the one there is for women”.  In the same way, I feel it’s important to apply the same concept to fabrics and clothes and that is one of the very personal ways to bring the concept of equality to the talking table.

Kabyashree Saikia