These Designers Are Proving Queer Fashion Is Way More Than Just A Trend

"Queer style is one of the most fashionable forms of resistance."
Models from the Tailory pose outdoors.
Models from the Tailory pose outdoors.
Dag Images

From countless articles mapping the rise of androgynous models to the influx of highly visible gender-neutral clothing to celebrities challenging gender-based expectations through fashion, the queering of the fashion industry is a phenomenon that parallels the rapid acceptance of the LGBT community by mainstream society.

Some have argued that this shift in fashion is appropriative or commodifying of the LGBT community, while others have celebrated It, deeming it a sign of progress.

But the question remains: what happens to fashion brands that proudly call themselves queer? That is, brands that go beyond the fashion industry’s recent fascination with androgynous gender presentation and create both clothing and space for a multitude of identities across the spectrum of sexual preference and gender identity.

Stuzo Clothing will showcase at <em>iD</em>.
Stuzo Clothing will showcase at iD.
Molly Adams

dapperQ is one fashion brand and blog that describes itself as queer and is attempting to start a conversation amongst queer fashion designers.

“I protested fashion until I realized it was my greatest tool,” Deeba Zivari,the brand ambassador for dapperQ, told The Huffington Post last week.

This week will mark dapperQ’s third NYFW presentation at The Brooklyn Museum ― they launched in 2013 with a multi-brand, interactive queer style event (un)Heeled pegged to the museum’s Killer Heels exhibit.

The 2016 show, which presents outside of the traditional structure of New York Fashion week, is called iD and will showcase the work of eight design houses.

Sharpe Suiting creates suits for butch, androgynous and masculine-of-center individuals.
Sharpe Suiting creates suits for butch, androgynous and masculine-of-center individuals.
Genna Sandler

To dapperQ, conventional fashion brands and magazines, which have capitalized on the trend of “queering fashion,” don’t accurately reflect the full spectrum of queer experience.

“Queer style is not a trend. It is an intrinsic part of our culture and identities and deserves on-going space at the fashion table,” dapperQ Owner and iD Executive Producer Anita Dolce Vita told The Huffington Post. “If gender fluidity is marketed as a legitimate way of existing and not just as a disposable trend, I support the mainstream industry advancing equality in fashion, so long as the original creators and thought leaders are properly credited and compensated.”

Dolce Vita sees radical potential in the fashion world to not only fight for and preserve notions of self-expression within the LGBT community, but contribute to the ongoing fight for social justice.

“Queer style is one of the most fashionable forms of resistance and is a powerful tool in our fight for liberation,” Dolce Vita added.

Model in Angie Chuang.
Model in Angie Chuang.
Rachel Gianatasio

Zivari echoed these sentiments when it came to her own personal journey with style and her queer identity.

“It was the exercise of style that gave me the gift of using material other than words to communicate my inside-outside world,” she told HuffPost. “The confidence to stand for myself, the access to community, the feeling of home, the integrity to tell the truth, and welcome the truth.”

Dolce Vita told HuffPost that one of the foundational goals of dapperQ and its annual show is recognizing the importance of maintaining agency over the aesthetics and ideas that the LGBT community pioneered.

“These mediums and communities are reshaping conversations around gender, size, race, ethnicity, ableism, and more,” said Dolce Vita. “The mainstream fashion industry is taking note of how powerful and influential these communities are, but it is really important that the queer community play a prominent role in presenting and discussing our ideas. Fashion is political and style is not just a trend.”

“iD” will take place at The Brooklyn Museum will take place on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Head here for more information and check out a list of participating designers and photos of their work below.

Participating iD designers:

Angie Chuang by Angie Chuang

Stuzo Clothing by Stoney Michelli & Uzo Ejikeme

The Tailory by Shao Yang

Thomas Thomas by SJ Weston

We Are Mortals by Anji Becker

NiK Kacy creates gender-neutral footwear.
NiK Kacy creates gender-neutral footwear.
Courtesy of NiK Kacy
Model Rain Dove wears Sir New York.
Model Rain Dove wears Sir New York.
Courtesy of Sir New York
A model wears Thomas Thomas.
A model wears Thomas Thomas.
Courtesy of Thomas Thomas
We Are Mortals will present at<em> iD</em>.
We Are Mortals will present at iD.
Courtesy of We Are Mortals

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