You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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What You Need to Know About Queer Fashion
Society tends to read a lot into clothing. Soon after we’re born, we’re dressed in clothes that push us toward conforming to gender stereotypes. Pink for girls, blue for boys, dresses vs. jeans. All through our lives, we’re given subtle and not-so-subtle cues and expectations of what it means to dress according to your gender, and we’re punished with nicknames and slurs if we stray too far from what’s expected. Queer fashion moves beyond expectations.
What Exactly is Queer Fashion?
The growth of what’s widely called “queer fashion” in the past few years is finally beginning to push back against those worn-out expectations. Blogs focusing on clothing and style that push back against gender expectations have exploded in popularity, with Qwear leading the way in identifying new trends and designers while exploring how non-gender conforming people use clothing to reflect their personal stories and sensibilities. Additionally, marquee events like Rainbow Fashion Week have brought queer fashion even more exposure.
The Evolution of Queer Fashion
Historically, both men and women have sought to dress in ways that push against gender norms. Until recently, however, most of the available options didn’t necessarily skew toward gender-neutral. Instead, a woman co-opting a man’s suit or a man wearing a skirt tended to be viewed as cross-dressing. Queer fashion tries to create spaces that don’t fit squarely in commonly-held perceptions of masculine and feminine style:
- Bindle & Keep– New York City’s Bindle & Keep is perhaps the best-known queer fashion line, with a recent HBO documentary, Suited, increasing brand awareness even further. The company is a high-end, bespoke suiting company that makes enormous efforts to craft clothing that caters to a non-gender conforming clientele.
- Harridan Township– Saint Harridan is an established company that focuses on queer fashion for people across gender identities, and with Harridan Township, the company is looking to push their mission even further. Their online department store, currently raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign, will “enable any person, of any gender, to shop anywhere in the store.”
- Genderflux– Queer-owned Genderflux is pushing against gender norms by designing an inclusive and innovative line of 15 ready-to-wear clothing items. The company launched an IndieGoGo campaign that raised nearly $8,000, and is currently working to manufacture their first line, called “Elementals.”
These are only three of many brands carving out their unique place in the queer fashion landscape, with other business introducing queer fashion to lingerie, swimwear and streetwear. While these brands tend to be higher-priced, there are more companies entering the queer fashion market than ever, introducing gender-neutral clothing at a variety of price points.
Who Does Queer Fashion Belong To?
Of course, with queer fashion’s growing recognition in the fashion industry and beyond, new questions of ownership and adoption have started to emerge. For better or worse, the idea of style and fashion as a social cue or code is well-ingrained, and that is particularly true in the LGBT community. As gender-neutral and gender-fluid clothing choices become widely available, many LGBT people wonder if they are losing something essential:
- Exclusive – In an essay for The Guardian, Sophie Wilkinson explored the lesbian community’s history of wearing masculine clothing and its use as a way to “tell the queer from the straight”. With straight women adopting this style, Wilkinson notes, “It’s nice to fall, accidentally, into fashion, but I also miss the exclusivity of what we wore.”
- Mainstream – The “trendiness” of queer fashion is also a concern for many. Anita Dolce Vita, owner of the company DapperQ, said to Mashable in no uncertain terms, “Queer style right now is being co-opted by mainstream fashion.” This statement echoes similar concerns about mainstream brands profiting off of the innovations of queer designers.
- Inclusive – One concern that hasn’t been addressed too much is the idea of what’s “in” when it comes to fashion. Laverne Cox touched on this topic in a recent interview, saying “Certain identities will become trendy, and they’ll go out. Inclusivity should never, ever be a trend. Represented how people look should never be a trend.”
Anita Dolce Vita, owner of the company DapperQ, speaks about queer fashion
Still, it’s hard not to see the positive impact of the explosion of queer fashion and style. Transgender models who would not have appeared on catwalks a decade ago are now highly visible, while more and more non-gender conforming people are gaining access to clothing that allows for a fuller range of personal expression, comfort, and pride.
Will queer fashion and style continue gaining mainstream popularity, or will it remain a niche? Either way, the rapid growth of companies and clothing lines catering to genderqueer and gender-neutral consumers doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and as more queer-owned and oriented businesses join the market, we’re sure to see greater visibility and inclusivity.