Last night dapperQ kicked off NYFW with their third annual queer fashion show hosted at the Brooklyn Museum. Everyone who is anyone in the queer fashion scene was there and dressed to impress. Fashion is a beautiful tool for self expression. Clothes are art that you can style to tell the world a story about yourself. For people who identify as LGBTQ, style goes even further than that; it can be a way to identify yourself, your gender identity or your gender expression.
As I walked backstage, the vibe was different from other NYFW shows. The air was filled with love and community as the models caught up while getting their hair and makeup done. Elliot Sailors said that’s the aspect of the show she loves so much, it’s a chance for anyone to attend and share in this experience. Sailors went on to say that “members of the LGBTQ community get a chance to see a reflection of themselves up on the stage, which is so powerful.”
Accessibility is a powerful tool when it comes to building queer community and Anita Dolce Vita, the founder of dapperQ, sends that message by making the event free for all to attend. In the crowd last night, I saw everyone from parents of designers to youngster dapper queers to people supporting their friends who were models in the show. Though this is a NYFW show and fashion is central to the event, the resounding themes of queer community and visibility were also clear throughout the night.
Anita said this year was different because their aim was to show vast gender expressions on the runway. DapperQ has made a name for themselves by giving a voice to masculine and androgynous styles in the queer community. On the runway last night, they expanded upon that by invited designers to show high-femme looks, gender free designs and more. The show truly transcended gender.
As Alex Berg, runway MC and Huffington Post writer, started the show, the crowd fell silent. She introduced the theme of 2016: iD, a chance to show our limitless queer identities and represent our many contributions to style and art. Berg went on to the very significant dedication, which was in honor of the 49 Pulse Orlando victims we, as a community, lost this year. The importance of this dedication was not lost on anyone in the room as we all recognize how much there is yet to fight for. That’s why events like this are so important, we need to continue queering spaces like NYFW for visibility, expression and community.
The crowd saw designs from Angie Chuang, NiK Kacy Footwear, Sharpe Suiting, Sir New York, Stuzo, The Tailory New York, Thomas Thomas and We Are Mortals. These queer designers brought out beautiful styles, as well powerful messages. Stuzo had #BlackLivesMatter at the center of their line, with a dynamic video playing on the screen behind the models walking in fuchsia and black leather designs.
Sharpe Suiting had influential suits made for every body type and gender expression, from femme to masc and everything in-between. They showed how important that was by having one of their models paint the symbol for the trans community on their back. It was inspiring to see all the queer representation on the runway, this event is created for us and produced by our own community. Congrats to the dapperQ team on an amazing and expressive queer experience through and through.