One day, while trying to debug an issue with Gulp, I spent a few hours looking at minified code. At one point, while blankly staring at the screen, contemplating punching my computer in the face, I realized how pretty code was. The various colors of my Monokai color scheme blended together in a beautiful, bright pattern, that manifested in my mind as an attractive fabric for leggings.
The idea started to take shape from there. I hid the idea away in a box, in a dusty corner of my mind, and would pull it out and play with it from time to time. I was working as a frontend developer at Crowdrise at the time, and I was always thought I was too busy to actually pursue it. I would talk to people about it occasionally, write down ideas when inspiration struck, do some research about merchandising when I had time, and daydream about it endlessly.
That was years ago. I have since gotten a new job, moved into a new house, and gotten a dog, but the idea and the desire to pursue it never wavered. If anything, recent events have inspired and empowered me to finally do it.
So here it is. Naughty Gits is the clothing line you never knew you needed. When I fantasized about it before, I only thought that it would be good for women like me. That was fine with me; we are a severely underserved community and I knew that other female developers/engineers would get behind it 100%.
I made my leggings and bought the first pair. I put them on the day I got them in the mail, and fell in love. I don't know about you, but leggings, oversized tees, and a messy bun is my coding uniform. I wore them, showed them off at the office, went home, and then went to the fro-yo place near my house. I got my first compliment from a stranger about them.
I started to realize that this could be bigger than just us. If women on the whole could collectively embrace code as a thing of beauty, we could change the entire industry. We could change the associations people have with technology. Instead of picturing a bespectacled, pasty white dude, people might start associating it with bright colors, empowerment, and women.
Fashion has long been a vehicle for female empowerment. When we were still sexual slaves, being traded like cattle, fashion was our only vehicle for self-expression. This is no longer our lot, but fashion is still a weapon we can wield. Technology's famous fashion icons are known for jeans, black turtlenecks, New Balance sneakers, hoodies, and t-shirts. There's no couture here. A programmer rolling up into a startup office rocking Louboutins would likely result in jokes, mocking, and alienation. These are the people who laugh at men who come into interviews in a suit, like caring about your appearance is the most embarrassing thing you could do.
Is this an effect, or a cause, of the dearth of women in tech? Is it possible for women to be taken seriously as we are, regardless of our clothes, or do we have to keep dressing masculine in the hope that no one will notice that we have boobs?
These are just a few of the things I think about. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
- Calley xoxo