The Phluid Project featured in Teen Vogue
Amidst the frenetic energy of New York City and the near-constant stream of news coverage that casts a dark pall overhead, there is a beacon of hope on Broadway in New York City: the Phluid Project. Founded by retail veteran Rob Smith, the Phluid Project is a brick-and-mortar store with an intentional focus on gender-neutral clothing and aims to fill a void in the consumer landscape by creating an inclusive and socially engaged community space. Smith wanted to ensure that every aspect of Phluid, from the physical space to the brands the store carries, was purposeful, impactful, and conscientious. And the message is consistent: Phluid’s social code, which asks everyone to “enter [this] space with an open heart,” has been blown up and plastered on the store's back wall, a resource page on the website has links to trans lifelines and resources for LGBTQ+ parents, and the store's coffee shop provides space for panels and discussions about gender and sexuality. The founder and CEO, Rob Smith, who has over 30 years’ experience in the retail world, holding executive roles at Levi’s, Nike, and Macy’s, is uniquely qualified to lead a venture such as Phluid. From his extensive years of working in retail, Smith realized that most stores fail to cater to marginalized young people in every aspect, and he wanted to change that.