Yesterday, the Supreme Court deemed the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. What a way to set off the weekend’s Pride celebrations! With the fanfare, comes the fashion, an open playground for redefinition, expression and outlandish style. There’s sure to be rainbow regalia, wigs, glitter, leather, heels and muscle tees galore. It prompted me to think about high fashion’s relationship to queer style. To outsiders, it seems fashion’s kings are gay male designers, the fabulous creators of straight female threads.
I started to wonder about labels and designers outside of this well-known dichotomy. Where were the lesbian, trans and queer voices in the world of fashion? Androgyny has recently become a buzz word in the modeling industry, with gender bending models experiencing new found success. Take for instance, artist and model Casey Legler, a woman who signed to Ford’s male board, or Brazilian transgendered model Lea T, and androgynous, male-bodied models, David Chiang and Andrej Pejic.
Of course fashion’s obsession with androgyny is nothing new–Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic androgynous interpretation of menswear in 1967’s Le Smoking is perhaps one of the most potent proofs of this. But, nowadays, there are brands devoted to rewriting fashion’s norms, reconstructing a visual language for folks who often are underrepresented.
Qwear, a queer fashion blog that features founder Sonny Oram’s dapper/dandy/clean-cut aesthetic, found a home on Tumblr, among a legion of queer style blogs. Displaying everything from binding tips to the perfect mini boutonniere, Oram says, “I found clothes that fit my gender identity, for the first time in my life. I was excited about it and wanted to showcase it somehow. Then all of these queer clothing companies started popping up. I happened to be at the right place at the right time for this kind of project to take off.”
In the world of Queer fashion, timing seems to be everything.