All hail the almighty dollar.
Fashion has traditionally pandered to the rich, the white, the thin, the hyper-visible. If anyone falls outside of these parameters, they are deemed unworthy, ugly and a non-market. While one might think that the gay or lesbian community is pushed out of this, it is embraced as long as it has the money, the waistline and the pale skin.
Queer Fashion Week turns that world on its ear.
QFW centers queer identities, including genderfluid and trans folks and BIPOC, and provides a tremendous amount of plus-size representation. From ready-to-wear to couture, tennis shoes to corsetry, QFW has something for just about everyone. After modeling in the 2015 debut year, I was eager to see what this year had in store.
When I went to the model call, I found my place with size-inclusive designers Re/Dress, Riece’s Pieces and Size Queen. These three businesses are owned by women, femmes, and/or queer-identified folks. In a world that doesn’t see fat people as capable of being glamorous and beautiful, these designers pour their hearts and souls into making that happen for their customers.
“Some designers shy away from real women bodies or larger models. And what I mean by that is, real people have flaws. That’s what makes each one beautiful in their own way, that they are each their own kind of beautiful,” Cherice Jackson of Riece’s Pieces says.
Putting on the spectacularly beautiful red gown from Riece’s Pieces was simultaneously terrifying and invigorating. I was not expecting to wear a body-con silhouette and did not bring any body-shaping undergarments. I do not usually wear such things, but designers often request shapers to show their ideal silhouette in the dress. Thankfully, Jackson was progressive enough to embrace the true form and say “go for it.” The dress fit like a glove and glamorously swished down the runway. Size Queen’s magnificent gold dress made me feel like a cross between a go-go dancer and Wonder Woman with its fun silhouette and movement.
The Re/Dress garment was SO MUCH FUN. The giant eye motif they used felt like getting to look back at the fatphobic world and humorously wink at it, taking away its power to hurt. With a perfect amount of stretch and bounce, the fabrics are super easy to wear and look good on a multitude of bodies.
Some people don’t get fashion, and as someone who has been disenfranchised from the mainstream fashion world, I get that. If I don’t see myself in there, I don’t want to support it. That is precisely why featuring a large-bodied person like myself — a 6’1” femme who is a size 24/26 — is an act of revolution and disobedience, an unwillingness to conform to these unhealthy and unfair standards set forth by folks that want our money but do not want to give a modicum of representation for that dollar.
Even in my circle of allies, femmes often get left out of the equation. Not so with Queer Fashion Week.
“It’s important for there to be equal femme representation, because they are a part of the story and should never be left out,” Size Queen designer Bertha Pearl says. “Not to mention, there are Queers with fat bodies. When we embrace that, it makes the whole experience better.”
We can expect to see great things from Queer Fashion Week 2017. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!