Working a New Look: 11 Designers, Curators and Stylists Who Are Queering Fashion

These 11 individuals are among those making sure that personal style is less rigid, more expressive and avidly accessible to those who deserve to be served in style.

PHOTO: MAXWELL LANDER

JACK JACKSON
AllJackedUp: Entrepreneur and Movement Maker

AllJackedUp is a luxury bowtie company out of Canada that produces handmade ties for people and pooches alike. It was during a photoshoot for the launch of the brand’s website that founder Jack Jackson and a friend had a thought: Wouldn’t it be nice if they could use bow ties to show support for the trans community? The Ties to Love campaign was born.

Ties to Love has grown into an international movement designed to promote solidarity, love and support for gender non-conforming and trans individuals, raising awareness around issues and giving back to queer and trans youth while creating community “ties.” The campaign has been a huge success and rallied support from ambassadors like activist Aydian Dowling, Toronto Mayor John Tory and musicians Walk off the Earth.

“What I wear every day is very much a part of my identity,” Jackson said. “I feel fortunate to be in a place in my life where that very act comes largely without any unwanted attention. This is how it should be for everyone. We’re a long way off that, but this is why campaigns like Ties to Love are important to cultivate visibility, awareness and, ultimately, empowerment.”

PHOTO: SHENA LEE

NAOMI GONZALEZ & FRAN DUNAWAY
TomboyX: Equalists and Community Builders

The founders of TomboyX saw a need in their community and decided they could be the ones to help fill it. “We had been hearing from customers that we should make boxer briefs for women,” Dunaway said. “When we did research, we found there was no company making briefs for curvy bodies. It seemed like a tremendous opportunity.”

TomboyX started out with only two designs of their boyish underwear, both of which sold out in pre-sale. They now offer a full line of briefs from which consumers can choose.

“I think there are a lot of companies that try to jump on the teen or tomboy bandwagon but for us, it’s much deeper than that,” Dun-away said. “We believe that every human being is perfect when they are unapologetically being who they were born to be. … We are much more than a trend; we define tomboys as people who are kind of outsiders.”

Gonzalez and Dunaway hope to break the gender binary with their work, which they consider the “X of TomboyX.”

“We want to participate in a conversation that is about gender roles,” Dunaway said. “What is it about anatomy that requires there is such a drastic difference in garments? … We get emails every day from people saying they finally feel comfortable in their own skin for the first time while in TomboyX underwear. The most beautiful was from a 70-year-old woman who said finally, she felt comfortable from the inside out. That is what we’re about.”

PHOTO: DEBBIE-JEAN LAMONTE

ANITA DOLCE VITA,
dapperQ : Publisher and Events Producer

As the curator of queer fashion site dapperQ, Anita Dolce Vita promotes visibility for masculine presenting women and trans-identified individuals. Dubbed “GQ for the unconventionally masculine,” dapperQ was among the first digital spaces to champion menswear for those traditionally underserved by mainstream media and designers.

“Queer style is one of the most fashionable forms of political resistance and is a powerful tool in our fight for liberation,” Dolce Vita said. “Fashion is a source of self-love, a form of protest, a celebration of our diverse cultures and identities.”

Most importantly, dapperQ has taken its digital space physical, hosting a wide range of events including panel discussions on how queer resistance plays a role in our current political climate. dap-perQ’s annual fashion show has successfully mobilized and liberated queer people through fashion in a tangible way, and Dolce Vita has proven a very deep theoretical understanding of the social mechanisms involved in fashion oppression. Her most recent project is Hi Femme!, a virtual space and community for queer femmes.

Natasha O’Ryan is the founder and Editor-in-chief of Effort-Lez, a lifestyle site for and about lady-loving culture and entertainment.

Corinne Werder is GO’s Associate Editor.


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