Rain Dove is an androgynous model making waves in the fashion world with her captivating gender non-conforming look.
Having turned heads during New York's Fashion week, Dove is slated to participate in the Queer Fashion Week taking place in Oakland, California, April 16-19. Dove is just one of many models who are changing the face of fashion today as people come to understand the many shades and hues of human identity as it intersects with the world of fashion.
The Huffington Post chatted with Dove this week about her thoughts surrounding visibility, her experiences in the fashion world and what she sees as the future of fashion.
The Huffington Post: What does it mean to you to be a visible, androgynous model?
Rain Dove: Well, to be seen by and visible to any person for any reason is an honor. To be recognized by others in my field of fashion and film is I'm sure just as rewarding and humbling as it is for any successful carpenter, doctor, lawyer, chef, vet, driver, or biologist. To be a "visible androgynous model," well it means something is being done right and that I have the opportunity to make a sizable dent in how the world sees fashion. There will never be another Rain Dove. There will never be another YOU. And I'm grateful to be able to share my journey with the world.
What have your experiences been like in the fashion world?
Challenging, adventurous and rewarding. There's the challenge of learning to keep your self-worth and ego in check. Not everyone will see your beauty and not everyone will find you attractive or believe you are worthy of their clothing or publications. You have to be satiated with just being authentically yourself at the end of the day. Every time I put on a new garment, do a new shoot theme, or don new makeup, I am exploring another person's vision of how they see me. This has allowed me to define and enjoy/face sides of myself I wouldn't normally. It's made for some really interesting stylistic discoveries such as the fact that I enjoy the temporary feel of high heels, the pressing of corsets, briefs over boxers. Most importantly the fashion world has led to the knowledge that since every image is of me, it represents me and, therefore, everything I do is perfect stylistically and nothing could be wrong because there is no wrong way to be me as long as I'm choosing to be it. Knowing that nothing was wrong with wanting to wear what I wanted because I wanted to wear it, that was the rewarding part because that's the part I get to share with the world. Hopefully they will understand it for themselves and discover that satisfying truth in their own ways.
How do you think fashion is changing in terms of queer representation?
I think fashion is always changing and I think advertising is the real issue. I feel that there are several types of fashion, but two main branches. High fashion. Commercial fashion. The real conflict of representation of sexuality lies in commercial fashion. Commercial fashion means including stores and brands such as Gap, Aeropostale, H&M, DKNY, Forever21. Commercial fashion, in America at least, is the most common and prominent. Therefore their advertising is also the most prominent. Advertisements tell us all kinds of things we can expect out of the clothing as our environment when we don the garments or accessories. It tells us what type of person it would look best on -- what age, race, sex -- it tells us where to wear it outdoors, at a fancy cocktail party, in a relaxed home environment. And, most importantly, it tells us who we can attract wearing the garments by showcasing couples. The real lack of queer representation is the showcasing of same-sex and generally queer couples in advertisements. The reason commercial brands are slowly shifting is because sociopolitical movements are making it easier for them to do so. See. at the end of the day it isn't the fashion world's job to change social policies and representations of individuals or groups of people. The fashion world is made up of private entities -- designers, photographers, distributors. A private entity does not have to start having queer advertising simply because we are upset. At the end of the day, a private entity needs to be able to remain in business, it needs to pay its staff, pay its rent and be able to expand. I think the fashion world and all of its private entities will change in whichever direction money lies most profitably for them. If the queer community bands together and can loudly state and prove that they have the spending power to make businesses not only richer, but also to compensate for any potential cliental loss for representing the the queer community -- then I think you will see growth and change.
What do you see as the future of fashion in terms of the way that it intersects with the queer community?
I see that one day we will have more pressing matters globally than who people sleep with, what sex they are and are they fitting within social norms for their age/race/genitalia/socioeconomic status. Photos with queer couples, or sex ambiguous personages, will be the least of people's worries. One day, in the world, we wont even identify ourselves as anything other than human. Queer, straight, agender, noncomforming -- all the labels will be seen as superfluous information. The queer subject wont even be a topic of discussion. It will be so integrated it will becoming boring and moot. And that's when we can all live happily ever after to orgasm and dress how we want... getting on with our lives and fixing other larger heavier issues with mankind.
Check out some more images of Dove in the slideshow below. For more info, check out her Facebook page here.