Queer Fat Femme: Blogger and Boundary-Pusher
Although femmes are sometimes invisible, ostracized and told they don’t belong by their own community, there are some who are pushing to create space for feminine-presenting women of every gender identity. Bevin Branlandingham is one of them.
“I would say that the queer fashion world can get very focused on non-binary and masculine clothing because that’s what we need to amplify. Fashion Week doesn’t center the experience of non-normative gender,” Branlandingham said. “It gets tricky with femme be-cause there’s no one way to be femme. The way someone does femme can be very non-binary and masculine.”
She also wants to make sure people with bodies outside of what is considered “normal” feel like they have a space to feel proud of their personal style.
“I think being a self-loving person who is outspoken and on stage as a fat person is a political act,” said Branlandingham, who is a frequent public speaker on the topic of fat fashion. “Since clothing and style are a part of my art and self-expression, it all ties into how I express my politics.”
In the last few years, Branlandingham has expanded her services by providing workshops on everything from positive body image to dating advice.
“I get feedback from all sorts of people, not just femmes,” she said. “I think that almost everyone knows what it feels like to be an outsider, to not feel beautiful and to not be able to meet the impossible beauty standards of our culture. In my writing, workshops and events, I work to create a vibe of inclusivity.
Sometimes it is through sharing my stories that all stem from overcoming fear and stepping out of the strict beauty norms of our society. Basically, I want to make the world easier for weirdos, and sometimes it’s easier if you see someone else navigating it. People tell me they feel belonging, they find their ‘people’ through me, or they just understand how to navigate the world a little easier.”
LAURA MOFFAT AND KELLY SANDERS
Kirrin Finch: Q-mmunity Creators and Eco-Darlings
Kirrin Finch is a lifestyle brand for those who identify as androgynous or masculine of center. Owners Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders are “on a mission to do good in this world, ” and they are hitting the mark, producing environmentally sustainable menswear-inspired apparel on U.S. soil so that they can keep a close eye on their carbon footprint and safe working conditions.
“As women who identify as androgynous or masculine of center or as a tomboy, we have been and are still are an underserved population,” Moffat said. “Mainstream fashion retailers don’t cater to us, and so we are often left feeling like outsiders or that something is wrong with us because we want to dress differently from what society considers to be the norm.”
Since the launch of Kirrin Finch in 2015, the duo has also been creating an extensive “q’mmunity” while on their quest to dress those outside the mainstream fashion industry’s scope.
“I think so much about clothing is about self-expression and accepting who you are,” Moffat said, “so it made sense for us to not only create clothing that made people feel accepted, but also create a space and community where people could feel that way, too. The more we can band together, I think the more we can have bargaining power and start to make changes that benefit the queer community as a whole. Plus it’s just fun to be around like-minded people that get you.”