Queer Fashion Is Way More Than Just A Trend

From countless articles mapping the rise of androgynous models to the influx of highly visible gender-neutral clothing to celebrities challenging gender-based expectations through fashion, the queering of the fashion industry is a phenomenon that parallels the rapid acceptance of the LGBT community by mainstream society.

Some have argued that this shift in fashion is appropriative or commodifying of the LGBT community, while others have celebrated it, deeming it a sign of progress.

But the question remains: what happens to fashion brands that proudly call themselves queer? That is, brands that go beyond the fashion industry’s recent fascination with androgynous gender presentation and create both clothing and space for a multitude of identities across the spectrum of sexual preference and gender identity.

dapperQ is one fashion brand and blog that describes itself as queer and is attempting to start a conversation amongst queer fashion designers.

“I protested fashion until I realized it was my greatest tool,” Deeba Zivari, the brand ambassador for dapperQ told The Huffington Post.
To dapperQ conventional fashion brands and magazines, which have capitalized on the trend of “queering fashion,” don’t accurately reflect the full spectrum of queer experience.

“Queer style is not a trend. It is an intrinsic part of our culture and identities and deserves on-going space at the fashion table,” dapperQ Owner and Executive Producer Anita Dolce Vita told The Huffington Post. “If gender fluidity is marketed as a legitimate way of existing and not just as a disposable trend, I support the mainstream industry advancing equality in fashion, so long as the original creators and thought leaders are properly credited and compensated.”

Dolce Vita sees radical potential in the fashion world to not only fight for and preserve notions of self-expression within the LGBT community, but also contribute to the ongoing fight for social justice.

“Queer style is one of the most fashionable forms of resistance and is a powerful tool in our fight for liberation,” Dolce Vita added.

Zivari echoed these sentiments when it came to her own personal journey with style and her queer identity.

“It was the exercise of style that gave me the gift of using material other than words to communicate my inside-outside world,” she said. “The confidence to stand for myself, the access to community, the feeling of home, the integrity to tell the truth, and welcome the truth.”

Dolce Vita said that one of the foundational goals of dapperQ and its annual shows is to recognize the importance of maintaining agency over the aesthetics and ideas that the LGBT community pioneered.

“These mediums and communities are reshaping conversations around gender, size, race, ethnicity, ableism, and more,” said Dolce Vita. “The mainstream fashion industry is taking note of how powerful and influential these communities are, but it is really important that the queer community play a prominent role in presenting and discussing our ideas. Fashion is political and style is not just a trend.”