Have you ever felt like your dream wardrobe doesn't even exist? When the majority of clothing isn’t made for us existing on the fringes of society and moving away from fast fashion.
In light of June being pride month I want to map my journey through queer fashion. Fashion is a huge part of our identity. We use it to express our politics, sexuality and gender.
But sometimes gender and sexuality are difficult to express. Like mine. The struggle of the invisible femme.
Growing up Queer on the Prairies
I knew I was queer in elementary school. I would look at other girls in the hallway and feel pangs of confusion. I knew I liked boys, so what was the problem?
Me and my friends would play house. I ALWAYS played the Dad!! Right after, we played dress-up. I loved both, navigating seamlessly between masculine and feminine roles.
Scared of friends' reactions, I didn’t tell most people I was queer until my mid 20’s. It was something I could suppress. Even though I finally told my parents and started dating women, navigating my presentation didn’t get any easier…
My Love for Glam
As a young child I loved make-up, dresses and dress-up. My friends and I would get dolled up and do photoshoots, channelling our inner spice girls.
I was hyper-femme, wearing any make-up I could get my hands on. My mom’s collection was an amazing disco palette of the 70’s- colored mascara, glitter lipstick and sparkly eyeshadow.
I went through alot of different style phases after, following the pop trends of the 90s, scene kid style of the early 2000s, followed by the vintage twee craze. Coming into my late 20’s I was ready to find out who I really was.
Designing clothing began around a time where I was delving into the radical queer community in Edmonton.
And that is how my first line FEMININ MASCULIN was born.
After years of wanting to design clothes, my first line FEMININ MASCULIN was born. My first real flirtation with masculinity. Named after one of my favorite counterculture new wave Jean Luc Godard films (Masculin Féminin), my line also wanted “explore[s] youthful attitudes about love, sex, politics and culture” (1)
Pairing androgyny with the classic details of the 60’s, there were collared shirts for the dapper gal, untailored, straight cut with no breast pleats. Dark vintage fabrics. Bow ties on my dresses. Vintage wood necklace pendants for a rougher, less dainty feel.
For my first fashion show the make-up was neutral, dark Kara Levigne inspired eyebrows, keeping the rest to a minimal with neutral lipstick and little to no foundation.
FÉMININ MASCULIN at Western Canadian Fashion Week
To me, the line hinted at queerness. I was really designing with myself in mind. An invisible femme looking for visibility.
But it wasn’t until I shaved off my super long red hair that I noticed other queer women paying attention to me.
Slowly growing out my short hairs!
Honestly, hating my new hair and frustrated with what it took to be seen, I realized that it wasn’t worth changing my presentation. Despite having to re-grow my hair for several years, cutting off my locks was necessary to reconnect with myself.
I had always been femme.
I threw myself full force into the next chapter and project of my life…
This time it was velvet, pleather, and mesh. I was desperate to get back to my roots. And it felt good. Skirts with side slits, crop tops with cut-outs, and floral pleather mini-skirts had me feeling the excitement of childhood dress-up.
Heavy on the pleather and mesh at the RAW Showcase
I couldn’t fight the Leo rising any longer, discovered earlier that year during a chart reading from a friend. I fully embraced my attraction to shiny objects and created a jewelry line to compliment the clothing.
I’ve since transitioned to primarily jewelry, finding that to be my truest pleasure.
More secure in my identity, I now have the pleasure of experimenting with my presentation.
My own fun photoshoot in a bathtub full of glitter
My latest collection PLAYFUL explores ‘hard femme’. Not to be mistaken with the typical femme, the "hard femme" describes herself as "queer", is political, looks more feminine than masculine, and if prompted, can kick some serious ass. She doesn't need to "wear the pants" in a relationship- the hard femme rules with a dress. She not only despises the gender binary, she works to dismantle it (2).
Compelled by the challenge of designing glamorous jewelry with a masculine edge, I feel seen wearing thick chain chokers with a pink velvet dress and faux fur coat, heavy brass collars with delicate hanging chains and bolos with collared dresses.
For me, wearing traditionally feminine colours or elements with harsher, bold accessories challenges gender normativity and the status quo. Even if it doesn’t scream “I’M QUEER”, incorporating elements of alternative subculture- BDSM and body mods being a huge inspiration- into glamorous jewelry indicates an element of gender non-conformity.
Another bonus- in addition to adopting pieces from my collection into my wardrobe- is the photoshoots. All while dripping in brass, I get to celebrate intimacy between women, sex and body positivity.
PLAYFUL SS2020 photoshoot tenderness
It feels like I just released PLAYFUL but I am SUPER excited to continue my journey in the Fall/Winter season. I won’t share too much but I hope you will saddle up and ride into the next sunset with me.
- Masculin Féminin- http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/movies/83031/Masculin-Feminin/
- Hard femme - https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hard%20femme