The First Ever LGBTQ+ Focused Fashion Week
By Mona Elyafi


Nik Kacy, Founder and President of gender-free luxury brand, NiK Kacy Footwear, brings the first ever LGBTQ+-focused Fashion Week, Equality Fashion Week to Los Angeles.


Equality Fashion Week is celebrating the Queer Fashion Community in all its colorful spectrums in a 5-day (Oct 5-9) experience of LGBTQ+ artists and designers including pop-up meet-n-greets & fashion displays.


Kicking off the festivities on Friday October 5 – a day before the commencement of LAFW – Equality Fashion Week will officially present its exclusive Fashion Show hosted by Carmen Carrera on the rooftop of the trendy Montrose Hotel.


The iconic hotel is the home away from home for entertainments best and brightest. Committed to the LGBTQ+ community, it hosts and partners with top organizations including the Elton John Aids Foundation and the 2018 Lezathlon LA After-Party.


Kacy is producing a non-traditional event that is breaking all the rules and defying conventional standards – particularly when it comes to models’ shapes and sizes.

The event is dispelling the myth of “appropriate body types” as well as gender identity. Models will also include trans and non-binary individuals as well as people of color.


With the endeavor to create a morally accountable fashion week, Kacy is rallying fashion enthusiasts, designers and industry reps around the trans issue, partnering with TransLatina Coalition.


The event will showcase the hottest LA-based couturiers and emerging designers who will sashay their new wave of trendy designs and hip collections including Sharpe Suiting, Hologram City, Nik Kacy Footwear, Fem/Haus, Lior Boroda, Dapper Boi and Stuzo Clothing.


Kacy’s motive behind Equality Fashion Week is to create a fashion show that would not only show off designers’ latest creations but also provide a platform for the community to become aware of the designers.


We caught up with Nik Kacy to get the scoop about the groundbreaking event.


What is the motivation behind this first LA queer fashion event? 

Queer Fashion has been at the forefront of innovation and design throughout fashion history.

Mainstream has been taking our influences and creations as its own, often times leaving many queer designers out of business because they cannot afford to compete with the big corporations. Many of the queer designers paving the way are in Los Angeles; and we have yet to have “queer” fashion week like other cities such as London, Oakland and New York, to name a few.


Why do you think LA needs an event like that when 1) there’s already LA Fashion, and 2) LA is not really considered a fashion Mecca per say?

Very often, queer designers are unable to afford participation in mainstream fashion weeks like LAFW or NYFA unless big investors back them. How do we get investors and raise awareness of brands then if we are unable to compete with the big guns? Despite not being considered a fashion Mecca, LA is the Mecca for queer innovation and creativity.

LA has a plethora of LGBTQ Folx with creative minds. Because this is the first of this event, I wanted to focus all the talent on local people in Southern California.


The fashion industry is already known to be gay friendly, why do you think we need an official queer version? 

I disagree that the fashion industry is gay-friendly. As a community particularly for trans and GNC people, we have been under-represented. The fashion industry is still predominantly focused on separating genders and “Genderneutral” clothing is still limited to sweatpants, t-shirts or sweatshirts. Being inclusive and being gay-friendly are very different things. Our purpose is to give exposure to queer designers who are making strides and creating a diverse line of designs for all types of people. We want to provide opportunity for our community so that we too can have the same opportunities as the big brands.


What made you team up with the Montrose Hotel?

The Montrose recently renovated their location and rebranded themselves. As part of the rebranding they also wanted to become more inclusive and give back to the LGBTQ community – a community that they have been surrounded by and supporting. The Montrose is located in the heart of West Hollywood so naturally we want the hotel to become the destination for our Queer Fashion event.


As a designer yourself, what went into the process of selecting the designers?

Mostly just kept my priorities to local designers who are queer with priority given to not only high quality of their work but also if they are trans, people of color or non-binary.


What makes this fashion event timely and relevant?

The discussion on gender and fashion has become an incredibly relevant topic in the news from laws barring trans folx from going into their bathroom matching their genders to celebrities creating fashion lines that are “Gender Neutral”. We are at the tipping point right now on all things gender related. This event is absolutely the king of event that we need to be having – especially now with our political climate.


What do you hope attendees leave with?

Awareness and support for Queer designers, talent, performers. I want them to see that we are just as valid, important and amazing as mainstream designers and that we’re all in this together. The message is that we should all support under-represented groups because when we help lift those in need we create more economic opportunities for everyone.


All in all, what makes this fashion show a MUST ATTEND event?

It will be a unique experience – very different from the official LA Fashion week. But we are not here to compete with them. We made sure our fashion show takes place before theirs start because we believe in solidarity and community building.

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