The Tumblr presence of Qwearfashion.com, a Boston-based style blog for queer women, trans people, and the dappers who love them.
For modeling oppurtunies, email Sonny: email@example.com
Courtney does Topman 3 ways: get ready for some street + smart mix, power clashing, and all-around adorable photos! 3 Ways To Wear Topman
A few weeks ago I was thrilled to spend the afternoon with menswear stylist Beelinda Fox to get an eye into her exciting life for some Qwearspiration. See part one of my interview: Interview With Menswear Stylist Beelinda Fox (Part 2 Of 2)
Today guest blogger Christiane Nickel of Posture Mag explores the intersection of Prep and queer style.
I was thrilled to spend the afternoon with menswear stylist Beelinda Fox and get more of an eye into her exciting life for some Qwearspiration. See post here:Interview With Menswear Stylist Beelinda Fox (Part 1 Of 2)
Back row left to right: Aaron, Shereen, Sunny, Emily, Jen, Kris, Nicky
Front row left to right: Aesha, Hannah, Rebecca, Gee, Rachel, Lauren, Eli, k.jones
Author | Sonny
Today provided more answers my ongoing question: “What is queer fashion?” also explored after yesterday’s lectures as part of the FIT’s Queer Fashion Symposium. Many of today’s speakers offered insight into gay fashion trends, highlighting observations and speculating on what caused certain styles.
Writer, lecturer, and curator Shaun Cole said he in no way means to define what gay fashion is, but rather report observations he and other people have made within the community. His interest in observing rather than defining resonated with the purpose of my blog. Am I trying to dictate the meaning of queer fashion? No. I just want to provide a platform on which to display a diversity of style from queers all over the world — in particular queer women and trans people — in an effort to inspire one another and engage in conversation. Never will queer fashion be one definable style. It grows and changes every time we shop, put on a piece of clothing, or go out and interact with the world. It’s a visual language through which to express our queerness to one another, and at times, society at large.
Cole highlighted that people dress at times with the purpose of attracting partners. The parts of ourselves that we emphasize shifts according to whom our gazer is. In other words, is queer fashion influenced by sexuality in addition to gender? Absolutely. Our clothes seduce people through the way they fit, feel, emphasize parts of our bodies, and allow us to interact with our partners. If you haven’t tugged on a cutie’s tie or worn a tie that was tugged on before, I highly recommend it.
One of the final speakers Joel Sanders, designer of the current Queer Fashion exhibit at the FIT, gave one of the most impressive descriptions of queer fashion I’ve encountered. He believes that queers — whether conscious of it or not — have a special lens into society’s inflicted gender performance, which we then reinterpret for our own style. He generously gave me the quote from his talk to share with all of you:
“LBGTQ people have enlisted fashion as a vehicle to express their identities by appropriating and reinterpreting the binary sartorial codes borrowed from mainstream culture that signify femininity and masculinity… These social conventions are so deeply ingrained in our cultural unconscious that they tend to go largely unnoticed. However, queers are not unlike expatriates living on foreign soil who have a heightened sense of the unfamiliar customs and protocols that natives take for granted. Fashion designers are adept at doing what queers do instinctively – detecting and highlighting the social conventions that shape gender performance.”
Those us of who don’t fit into heteronormative behavior and desire have a heightened sensitivity to society’s gender roles. Whether femme, butch, genderqueer, stud, etc, the way we dress references these roles and reinterprets them.
So, what is queer fashion? Hypersensitivity to society’s inflicted gender roles, seduction to whom we are attracting, and simply, whatever we see around us. It shifts from culture to culture, era to era, and has been affected at times by needs to conceal identity or code our identity to one another. But regardless of how we choose to use the language of queer fashion, at the heart of it is hypersensitivity to the meaning behind our clothes, with particular regard to gender and sexuality.
Needless to say, this symposium was well worth the trip to New York! As you reblog and perhaps share your thoughts, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming of style inspiration and queer eye candy. Thanks for being part of this amazing platform for queer expression through fashion!
A Queer History of Fashion: From The Closet To The Catwalk at The Museum at FIT runs though January 4th, 2014.
Author | Sonny
“What is queer fashion?” is the question I spend most of my days trying to answer, and what brought me to New York for the Queer History of Fashion Symposium as part of the Queer Fashion exhibit at the FIT. The academics, designers, story tellers, and humorists I saw today all had a perspective to share. And I was excited to see so many people of all ages joining the discussion.
Simon Doonan, designer and creative ambassador for Barneys New York told the story of coming to the states from London in the 70s and not being allowed a green card because he was gay. He said that for him and his counterparts, marginalization caused creativity. He used the term “creative rage” and believed that marginalization from being gay affected his work. I enjoyed this explanation coming near the beginning of the symposium, because marginalization was largely what queerness meant to me when I was first coming out as a kid. But now it means so much more too.
James Gager of MAC Cosmetics talked about MAC’s interest in helping people be themselves, only “a little more beautiful.” He’s done campaigns with several gay and drag icons, including RuPaul and K.D. Lang. It seems to him that queer fashion is based around self expression.
John Bartlett, known for his rugged American designs, showed us images of his work and inspirations. Some of his work stemmed from the bear style (burly gay men with lumberjack and campy outfits). He also showed us images celebrating the male body. I took away that gay fashion for him was a celebration of men and being male, and appreciating the male body.
Dr. Monica L. Miller explored Janelle Monae’s tux. It’s a uniform that challenges expectations of gender and sexuality, a container for her energy, a garment that blurs class lines, a challenger of notions of blackness, a superhero uniform, armor, among many other things. I took away that the tux is queer because of its history and the empowering message it sends when Monae wears it. It seems that for Monae, what makes it queer is just as much about race and class as it is about gender and sexuality.
In conversation, Steele asked Fran Lebowitz (who I now understand to be the funniest woman alive), “Why are there gay fashion designers?” to which she replied, “Are you serious? Why are there straight designers?” Her timing sent the audience into ruptures of laughter. She continued, “Wait… really? You’re an educator!” As a humorist, she didn’t explicitly tell us what she meant, but somehow I got it. Fashion is all about self expression, and as queers who’ve spent much of our time hiding our identity, self expression seems like the next best step. And what better way to do it than through close contact with beautiful people walking the runway?
Hal Rubenstein’s “Do Gay Clothes Have More Fun” lecture was as lively as the title. He believes that any clothes worn by a gay person are gay clothes. As he put it, clothes in stores aren’t any gayer than the hooks they’re hanging on, but as soon as they’re in his closet, they are gay. He believes that great fashion is about dressing from the inside out. “This leather feels sensational,” he commented as he showed off his leather ensemble by his friend Gianni Versace. So to him, gay clothes are about… being gay, and loving being gay. Expressing oneself from the inside out. He pointed out that Versace’s construction inside the clothes was just as good as the outside. Seducing people. He believes that you don’t have to spent $1,500 on a silk shirt to seduce people (but soft fabric certainly helps).
So I have some answers to my question: Queer fashion is creativity stemming from marginalization, subverting norms, self expression, and simply being queer. But like most wonderful things, I’m also sure that the more I attempt to answer this question, the more questions I’ll have! Tonight I’m getting together with Anita Dolce Vita of dapperQ and Winter Mendelson of Posture Mag to film a little vid talking more on the subject. So keep your eyes out for another post tomorrow, and a video later on.
A Queer History of Fashion: From The Closet To The Catwalk at The Museum at FIT runs though January 4th, 2014. View more on the exhibition website. The second day of the symposium takes place tomorrow from 9 to 5.