How does being Queer fit within the Fashion world? It’s the celebration of being your ‘Authentic Self’.
Being Queer is about being fluid, having the freedom to express yourself how you wish without abiding to society’s expectations of how you are supposed to. Pushing boundaries through fashion is a form of revolution, rebelling against imposed ideas of what a female body and male body should wear.
This past week (sept 28th-Oct 2nd) Effort-Lez ventured off to explore Oakland’s Second Annual Queer Fashion Week held at Venue in Downtown Oakland.
The audience at Oakland’s Queer fashion Week was like none I had encountered; we were welcomed with the warmest hospitality, friendliness, and professionalism. Entering the Venue, we were greeted by John Karlo Torres, Public Relations Director of the event, followed by many workers, designers, and models that were eagerly ready to present their creative work to their audience.
Executive Producer, Miz Chris, addressed critical dialogues on the empowerment and impact that a community can have when they work together. Chris’ moving speech left the audience with great consciousness of why we all gathered for the inspiring Queer Fashion Week event, we all felt the connection to her statement made, “we’re better together”.
The amount of love and respect from the queer community in this event was one that could be felt in all the areas. We all united to experience the deconstruction of gender, fashion, and body norms.
Model serves the walk for Patty Wack Vintage
Through the many events held at Queer Fashion Week, the designers, and models participating brought awareness to many political movements. Among some of the statements that were brought into the spotlight were those advocating for the importance of Self-love, Black lives matter, Free the nipple, Body Positivity and Trans Rights to list a few.
QFW manifested the beautiful ways that bodies can dress, (or undress) without having to grant permission from rigid, strict beauty standards.
Among some of my favorite designers that exhibited their work were:
- NiK Kacy
- Patty Wack Vintage
- Geeky Junky
- T. Christal Designs
- Glamour Coated Melons
- Dapper Boi
- Kirrin Finch
The creative process behind the way designers, artists, and models all worked together each day was groundbreaking; displaying daily of all the body types normally kept hidden away in mainstream media and fashion. Queer, POC, Disabled & Trans bodies explored the freedom to claim spaces through fashion in each exhibition.
Fallon Davis, Director of the show stated that
“The unconventional parts of the show were the models. We used people of all kinds of heights, all kinds of body shapes, all kinds of colors and all kinds of sexualities”.
On Friday, September 30th designers and performers expanded on the idea of dismantling gender and gender performance through a show called Deconstruction: Fashion & Art Social. Performances from:
- Kitten Head
- Aima the dreamer
- King Saturn
- Red Host Burlesque
all brought their most unapologetic performances to the stage.
Queer bodies were allowed to reveal their freedom as they played with fashion, and illustrated the beauty in all the versatile ways we all live.
Extreme Makeup, Hair & Body Art Showcase
On the opening night for the Unconventional Evening Runway, Kirrin Finch models had all the cool swag strutting with their ‘EffortLez’ menswear style. The models made the crowd swoon over the way short and long-sleeved button down shirts were fit all bodies just right regardless of gender and height. The K. Finch show really brought home that gender in fashion is fluid – being female or male should not define what you are restricted to wear.
For the lovers of VINTAGE…
Patty Wack Vintage left us wanting more on the Second night for the Deconstruction: Fashion and Art Social with their creative use of styling, and their use of recycled pieces in the most majestic form of self-expression.
Patty Wack Vintage
Patty Wack Vintage
Performance artist Saturn Rising slayed the stage with his live performance along with runway walk for the Drag Excellence collection that Mr. David Glamamore presented, bringing consciousness to the importance of being free, and finding a community that allows you practice it.
Although we have a long road ahead of us more people are creating awareness in celebration of freeing their minds and bodies from imposed restrictions from Society and the Mainstream Fashion Industry.
QFW 2016 brought us hope for the future of our Queer communities within the Fashion Industry, pushing us to claim spaces through clothing so that one day our form of existence will not be considered unconventional.
Yet beyond everything that was explored in QFW, we were gifted the greatest form of love from our community. The performers, models, directors and designers validated our essence and that cannot be broken down by any societal standard.
All images: Erika Soliz