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brandsMonday, 28 June 2021

Pride Month 2021: Celebrating Queer Style

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Recognised as a period packed with parades, a time to place the spotlight on marginalised identities and an opportunity to prioritise pride from within — June is a month brimming with reflection, festivities and colour. Pride Month is a coming together of the LGBTQ+* community and allies to see how far we’ve come, and to reflect on the changes still needed in many parts of the world.

 
Fashion and queer identities have gone hand in hand for what seems like forever. Think Yves Saint Laurent disrupting traditional gender stereotypes with women’s tuxedos in the ‘60s — an early example of how fashion can blur conventional boundaries. Time warp back to the ‘80s through to the early ‘00s, and cue Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford onto the world stage at a pivotal moment for glamour and grunge alike. A moment which could now be considered a cultural revolution as many designers were battling with homophobia, backlash and, for some, AIDS.
 
Then fast forward to more recent years with Telfar Clemens, the Liberian American queer designer from Queens, speaking about representation in fashion through his personal wardrobe — long before he set up his own label. Gender neutral and with a message that reads, ‘it’s not for you, it’s for everyone,’ TELFAR became the inclusive brand with the ‘Bushwick Birkin’. 
 

Why is Pride so important?
A dedicated time of solidarity, Pride Month exists to mark police brutality inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community in the Stonewall Uprising during the ‘60s. Just a year after this, in June 1970, the first-ever Pride took place in New York — and two years later London followed suit. 
 
During a period normally typified by rainbow hues and buckets of love, Pride Month holds a profound weight after a difficult year. For many in the community, Pride is a haven, a sense of escape and a release from pressures related to identity.
 
So how can allies celebrate, reflect and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community this year? We’ve spoken to eight influencers about how they’ll be honouring Pride Month, which of their favourite queer designers they’ll be wearing and how they hope icons will pave the way for future generations. After all, dressing is a form of expression — and there’s no greater pride in being true to yourself.
 
Happy Pride Month — we raise a toast to all of our LGBTQ+ friends and allies celebrating Pride, not just this month but every day of the year. We hope it’s brimming with colour, hope and love.
 
*LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace identities.

Jamie Windust (@jamiewindust) they/them 

Contributing Editor at Gay Times, Author and Model based in London, England

 

Happy Pride Month! Please tell us a little bit about your chosen outfit, the brands you’re wearing and the way you’ve styled it?

This outfit is really the only thing I own that is weather appropriate for the sensational downpours we’re experiencing, yet still effortlessly sophisticated. I always love a coat, if there’s a coat that goes to the floor and has a cinched waist, then it’s coming home with me. This trench is from Edited, and I adore the impact it has despite its simplistic colour palette. I’m really into statement clothing, well-made and long-lasting one-tone pieces at the moment. It’s like a chic version of colour blocking. I’m so used to wearing multiple colours all at once, that I now enjoy seeing my style evolve into something that still has that element of colour, but feels more mature.

 

How will you be honouring pride month this year and what brands will you be wearing?

Pride Month for me is always one that is a little difficult because I have to find the right balance between work and celebration. It’s a super busy time and I really enjoy the professional challenges it brings my way, but equally it’s so important to me to have fun, let my incredibly short hair down and have a ball with my community. 

 

Summer is really fun this year for me in terms of fashion. Since I’ve had a real rejig with what fashion means to me since the pandemic, this summer feels like a real new exploration of what I want to look like. I’m really into shorts and shirt co-ords at the moment.

 

It’s such a simple, yet effective look and most importantly it keeps me cool. Mesh rollnecks, high-neck tops and linen wide-leg trousers are also on the menu, as it’s essentially a lighter and more breathable version of what I wear in autumn/winter. Acne Studios has some great mesh tops that I’ve seen recently and I am just so into a wide-leg, breathable moment — it’s just so natural and light, I love it. 

 

What do you think is the best way to support and celebrate Pride and how can allies support the LGBT liberation movement?

Great question, and definitely one that has been thrown around many times before, and I’m sure it will be asked again. For me, as a creative and as a writer, I find connection and education through learning and enjoying every aspect of someone’s lived experience. Whether that be through their social media or through their work, or just hearing funny stories about them, getting acquainted with all of the facets of someone’s life is really important for me to be a better ally. 

 

As a community, listen to our tales, our stories of fun and frivolity — but also our stories of sadness and heartbreak, because nine times out of ten, there’s a commonality there despite the difference in our identities. That’s why I wrote my debut book ‘In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life’ because it’s an anecdotal, messy and all-encompassing look at what my life is like. The feedback has been amazing to hear. I’ve heard how people who didn’t know anything about the queer or trans community now feel able to listen and learn because they’ve realised that it’s about a shared human experience. 

 

Who are some of your favourite queer brands or designers and why? How do they celebrate queer culture in their designs?

ASHISH is a huge love of mine. Everything that comes out of the brand is unapologetic in its approach — the colour, the drama, the excitement always delivers.

 

Likewise with Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY. It’s a different take on queerness and expression compared to ASHISH, but the narrative that Charles puts into his work is really poignant for an LGBTQ+ audience. The casting in his shows, the stories that he pulls together and the team behind it is exactly what I love about his approach to fashion. 

 

On a smaller scale, independent brands such as Dylan Joel Studio and Insatiable Lust, which specialise in queer artistry and really showing the communities brilliance and uniqueness through their collections is just so London and I love it. A huge favourite of mine that I have to share is Patrick McDowell. The effortless artistry, the incredibly intelligent takes on personal queer stories and camp foolish nature of his work is just stellar. I’ve had the pleasure of wearing McDowells’ work and it’s just a huge inspiration for me when remembering to have fun with fashion. 

 

Who is your favourite Pride pioneer and how do you hope they will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community?

A Pride pioneer for me has to be East London’s own Bimini Bon Boulash — catapulting to success. As a non-binary person, and as someone so invested in the art of gender expression it’s been amazing to see someone be so unapologetically themselves and achieve such success. Their looks, makeup, voice, all are so important right now and it’s great to see someone have fun with what they’re doing without compromising themselves to fit in. 

 

Nara (@naras._) she/her

Stylist, Influencer and Artist based in Seoul

 

Happy Pride Month! Please tell us a little bit about your chosen outfit, the brands you’re wearing and the way you’ve styled it?

Happy Pride Month! I try to wear various clothes and brands regardless of my image. Every time, I reveal the mood I want through styling. There are times when I can enjoy layering, and sometimes I want to show the mood with just one dress.

 

How will you be honoring pride month this year and what brands will you be wearing?

To be honest, I’ll just wear what I want to wear as usual.

 

What do you think is the best way to support and celebrate Pride and how can allies support the LGBT liberation movement?

The best way to support and celebrate Pride is to contribute to it and to be seen. Visualisation is crucial to share the message with more people. I’m happy to show my heart and support to Pride so allies can unite together. 

 

For example, we can shop at LGBTQ+ friendly small businesses and create content with and around them. Isn’t it just the best feeling to join in the Queer parades if there’s one where you are at?

 

Who are some of your favorite queer brands or designers and why? How do they celebrate queer culture in their designs?

I’m always enjoying Calvin Klein campaigns. The latest GAY sweatshirt from Balenciaga is one of the items on my wishlist. The way JW Anderson’s content reveals gay culture is also interesting.

 

In Korea, there is a brand called AJO. I like the brand because it holds a very strong support for LGBTQ+ culture.

 

Based on the space, queer-related books can be viewed, LGBTQ+-related screenings are held, lookbooks showing diversity are published.

 

Who is your favorite Pride pioneer and how do you hope they will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community?

Sportswear brands such as Calvin Klein and Nike are showing diversity, but it is true that it is still hard to find in luxury brands. It saddens me that many brands are more open-minded to the community than the LGBTQ+ community.

 

I hope many brands will join this June trend without hesitation so that LGBTQ+ can no longer be recognised as a strange or minority position, but as a culture that deserves to be respected. Wouldn’t a lot of things change — especially if brands participate?

Ryle (@thefiercewalker) she/her

Fashion Curator and Digital Talent based in Barcelona, Spain

 

Happy Pride Month! Please tell us a little bit about your chosen outfit, the brands you’re wearing and the way you’ve styled it?

Happy Pride Month Fierce! Rise and Slay!

 

Whenever I dress up for an editorial shoot I always choose pieces that reflect my mood and image. I always want to look polished, chic and on point. I like to mix prints and patterns with the same colour tones to empower my fierce image. 

 

I am wearing Gestuz, Nue Studio, Tlabel, Boopala and & Other Stories. I like mixing high-end brands, contemporary designers and vintage accessories to put an interesting twist on my look. I wear my outfits with my personality and not the other way around. 

 

How will you be honouring pride month this year and what brands will you be wearing?

I will be honouring Pride this month by highlighting the importance of trans visibility in the media. By having a fair share of trans people on campaigns projects that reflect our visions and who we are reminds trans children to dream big, no matter their identity.

 

The world is their runway to showcase who they are and what they are capable of in embracing their femininity in society. 

 

I will be wearing TELFAR, Dion Lee, Mugler, Gucci, and Nanushka. I’ve worked with them in the past and working with brands that support trans and the whole LGBTQIA+ community is something I am proud to wear — while slaying for my fellow trans community.

 

What do you think is the best way to support and celebrate Pride and how can allies support the LGBT liberation movement?

Support, showcase, empower and help the LGBTQIA+ community, entrepreneurs and talents to have proper representation in media. Brands should not just tolerate who we are but accept us in their campaigns regardless of how we look and where we came from. 

 

Acceptance shouldn’t have criteria or standards. Break stereotyping based on what they look like or which nationality they came from just because they are different and part of LGBTQIA+. We empower others by recognising and celebrating them for who they are and what they can offer on the table.

  

Who are some of your favorite queer brands or designers and why? How do they celebrate queer culture in their designs?

Telfar Clemens for TELFAR and Christopher John Rogers.

 

They are making waves in the industry for the LGBTQIA+ community — showcasing their talent, using diverse models and championing creativity at its peak. They are making their pieces more appealing to everyone because it gives the feeling of being included when you wear their designs. 

 

Who is your favorite Pride pioneer and how do you hope they will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community?

Laverne Cox, Billy Porter, and Indya Moore. I hope that they use more their voice to champion trans and queer talent and open doors for more opportunities. The representation table should be extended for everyone and not just for certain people. We should empower each other and help one another to rise. This is how we make a difference to champion diversity and inclusivity.

Gregory Velvet (@gregoryvelvet) he/him

Artist based in New York

 

Happy Pride Month! Please tell us a little bit about your chosen outfit, the brands you’re wearing and the way you’ve styled it?

I love a chill look for summer that looks like you just spent the day at the beach. These silk Carlos Campos shorts make your legs feel so free and sexy. They are the perfect summer short. I styled the shorts with a nude AMI Paris Ami de Coeur logo hoodie and a Drôle De Monsieur hat. For trainers I’m wearing pink Vans. This look to me says surfer chic even if I can barely stand on a surfboard. 

 

How will you be honouring pride month this year and what brands will you be wearing?

I am celebrating Pride with my husband. This month we celebrate Pride along with our four-year wedding anniversary. We were the first same-sex couple to be married at the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel and are honored that our wedding took place during such an incredible month of awareness and expression. My husband’s beautiful coming-out story was also profiled in the NY Times as they covered our wedding. This is a month that we look to share the amazing love we found with each other. 

 

What do you think is the best way to support and celebrate Pride and how can allies support the LGBT liberation movement?

Giving back. It is so important for LGBTQ+ people to help those who are struggling both younger and older. Everyone’s story is different and if you have been of help in any way — from providing advice, to being an ear to listen to, to helping connect someone who is looking to make career moves — we all should be a midwife to other’s ideas.  

 

Who are some of your favorite queer brands or designers and why? How do they celebrate queer culture in their designs?

I love so many, but to name a few — Gucci, Nicole Zizi Studio, Julian Woodhouse. These creatives all stitch together fashion that is gender anonymous and can be styled and worn to match your association.  

 

Who is your favorite Pride pioneer and how do you hope they will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community?

My personal Pride pioneer is Virginia Woolf. Her book ‘Orlando’ opened my eyes to a new world. The beautiful and poetic novel allowed me to see gender fluidity and helped me to explore both my sexuality and femininity. Woolf revealed to me that underneath the sex that we may be promoting is the very opposite of what it is on the surface. We are capable of existing so much greater than simply confined in blue or pink boxes. Woolf in an inspiration to me especially and I have just completed the draft of my first novel that also speaks to gender and homosexuality.

Martin Jerez (@martin_gregory) he/him/his

Stylist, Fashion Editor, Consultant, Nightlife Host based in New York, America

 

Happy Pride Month! Please tell us a little bit about your chosen outfit, the brands you’re wearing and the way you’ve styled it?

Happy Pride! I’m so excited it’s finally June. The weather is better, society is almost recovered — it’s time to celebrate.

 

I’m wearing a pretty classic silhouette for me which I like to call the ‘fashion cowboy’. I’m wearing one of my favourite cowboy hats by Los Tigres del Norte (a famous Norteño band from California), a vintage shearling jacket, a Dion Lee tanktop, Bianca Saunders jeans, and ALYX boots — with loads of gold jewellery. 

 

I’m pretty notorious for loading on the jewellery and I’m a sucker for accessories. I love mixing vintage pieces with RTW and creating some sort of fantasy. I would say my style is clean, not simple — but definitely adventurous, fresh and different. I love creating characters out of my looks and I’ve been known for some of my looks. Some people love it, some people don’t. That’s totally fine with me. Your particular sense of fashion shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be universally accepted, it’s for you and it’s what makes you feel good. Forget anyone else’s negative opinions!

 

How will you be honouring pride month this year and what brands will you be wearing?

This pride month I am back on the nightlife grind hosting a slew of LGBTQ+ parties over pride weekend in NYC. Some of them are linked with LGBTQ+ charity organisations in the NYC area. I think it’s important to celebrate our history and to show the world we are proud — what better way to do that than throwing a celebration and making sure some of the proceeds benefit our brothers and sisters?

 

I have been a long-time supporter of queer-owned brands (especially smaller POC-owned brands). I literally just picked my outfits out for NYC Pride weekend and they include KINGSLEY, Bianca Saunders, Liam Hodges, Wesley Berryman and Barragan mixed with Maison Margiela (my ultimate obsession), Marni and Prada.

 

What do you think is the best way to support and celebrate Pride and how can allies support the LGBT liberation movement?

I think the best way to support and celebrate Pride is to be authentically yourself and stand up for not only yourself but others around you, especially in times of need. Our allies should try to be as inclusive as they possibly can — even the smallest gesture can go a long way for some people.

 

Who are some of your favourite queer brands or designers and why? How do they celebrate queer culture in their designs?

TELFAR is one of my favourite queer brands and designers. I have known Telfar since my earlier days of partying in NYC at Frankie Sharp’s Westgay years ago. I still see Telfar around now and he is still the same kind, endearing and inquisitive soul I met almost a decade ago. Living in New York for so long, those are the things you come to admire and respect — consistency.

 

I love to support designers who I know in real life and are actually good people. TELFAR has always been inclusive with the LGBTQ+ community here in this city, including them in his shows and campaigns. It’s actually amazing and I’m proud to support him.

 

Another great designer is Dion Lee — who really takes queer nightlife into consideration in his designs. Those tank tops and trousers are made for the club! You can’t tell me otherwise.

 

My ultimate obsession currently is Maison Margiela. All the sheer, ruched shirts are my favourite. The snatched mini bags are to die for. I’ve been acquiring all the pieces John Galliano makes. He really is a mastermind.

 

My all-time favourite is Jean Paul Gaultier. I’m an avid collector of his vintage tops (since before they were a trend I’d like to add) and I am so excited for his new collection collaborating with up-and-coming designers.

 

Who is your favourite Pride pioneer and how do you hope they will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community?

My favourite Pride pioneer is Hunter Schafer. When I was a model agent, I represented Hunter at her first modelling agency in NYC and I would dress her and take her to LGBTQ events I threw in the city. 

 

Her energy was (and still is) so pure and charismatic. Her style is effortless and completely herself. At such a young age, it was completely and utterly admirable. Did you know that she used to be quite an activist as a high school student in North Carolina? I wish I had the strength she did when I was in high school. I’m so proud of the woman she has become — her strong position on gender identity and trans youth is exemplary and I’m proud she is using her fame to educate others.

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