The first ever Queer Fashion Week exploded this past weekend at four different venues in Oakland, a town that knows how to celebrate queer culture. Miz Chris, of Eden and fiveTEN Oakland Events fame took on this incredible feat, and pulled it off seamlessly.
I can’t even begin to describe the excitement and fresh creative enthusiasm that pulsated throughout QFW. The crowd skewed young, ethnically diverse, androgynous and primarily female, but with supermodel Cory Wade of Top Model fame in the house and a sprinkling of hot slightly-older-women and a drag queen or two, the crowd spanned every gender, age, shape and size imaginable. The models and designers delivered incredibly professional presentations, and the vendors, performers, DJs and volunteers knocked themselves out to make this a truly groundbreaking event. From the opening cocktail party to the catwalk, after parties, vendor village and trunk show—QFW was a delightful success! There were also mind-blowing extreme makeup & body art creations, burlesque dancers, top notch celebrity DJs, musical acts, spoken word, hip-hop and rap performances.
From the program: “Queer Fashion Week is about diversity and the expression of individuality that is the cornerstone of fashion and the fashion Industry. As Queer individuals and creative human beings it is time for us to shine in all our queer diversity… we chose Oakland as the backdrop for this historic event because Oakland is fashion forward, a hub for artists and an incubator for both new and established musicians.”
As a media sponsor, the Epochalips crew was on hand to support local queer culture and PARTY! When I was younger, I felt uncomfortable and awkward in girls clothes and chose to wear ill-fitting boys clothes, instead. It wasn’t lost on me how much I would have benefited from an event like this and how very important it is for today’s youth to see and hear about it. At QFW I felt more comfortable in my soft-butch clothes than ever before, and I even bought some FANTASTIC outfits to wear to some upcoming LGBT benefits. NCLR Anniversary Celebration and Our Family Coalitions Night Out anyone?
Cory Wade told us: “QFW is so important. It’s the perfect chance for queer youth to see what’s possible for them, and to see that this can be the norm.” The bi-racial openly gay model from Philadelphia was excited, proud, and “a little bit pissed off that there hasn’t been a fashion week highlighting LGBT designers and models before now. Something like this…its going to give a lot of people hope…they are going to see that there are so many different walks of life, and they are all beautiful. This could potentially change the fashion industry in a very positive way”
Rain Dove, androgynous super model and self-proclaimed ‘Gender Capitalist’ was especially inspirational. When she graced the catwalk, believe me—people were riveted! She is gorgeous and knows how to have fun. Stay tuned, you will be seeing a lot more of Rain—this kid is going places. Her motto is “The most unique thing you can be is yourself” In a recent interview, she told DapperQ “…While we should really celebrate the “queer culture” for what it is, the ultimate goal should be full integration. CLOTHING ISN’T QUEER. It’s just clothing. The people who wear that clothing define its intentions and its actions. Every environment that garment is in redefines the value of that garment. Clothing doesn’t choose a lover, it doesn’t choose a pronoun, it does not have sexual organs. It’s made for whoever will buy it.”
My favorite part about Rain Dove, (besides her awesome look!) is her dedication to giving back. She gets the Epochalips HERO AWARD for 2015! “Every month, I pick a cause to support and work hard to help spread knowledge about their awesomeness as much as possible. I also work odd jobs for low income businesses and donate the funds towards hiring someone to do volunteer work.” Says Rain (DapperQ interview)
Epochalips Top Designer Picks from QFW:
Stuzo Los Angeles based clothing for women and men
Immigreat Oakland based custom creative designed bow ties
Haute Butch Bay Area based handsome apparel for women, butches, studs, bois and transmen
Play Out New York based Sexy boycut underwear for men and women
Butch Basix Oakland based masculine inspired clothing and accessories
Other stand out vendors and clothing designers:
Topher Adam SF Based sexy, dark designs and couture
IGIGI SF based clothing for the woman celebrating her curves
Show and Tell Oakland based clothing and accessories
Sunsun Creative Toronto based handmade shirt and pants
True Life Clothing Arlington, TX based boyish clothing
ElectroBaroque Bay Area based hand-made illuminated clothing and accessories
Lady Lovers Sacramento, CA based casual clothing
Outplay Florida based gender neutral swimwear
Quear Boston Based fashion blog with clothing picks e-shop by Sonny Oram for queer women, trans and non-binary individuals
Size Queen Portland based plus sized clothing
Thuy Sf based custom clothier, fine men’s clothing for women
Sharpe Suiting Los angeles based fine custom suits for butch women and trans men
Unbound Androgynous , gender neutral clothing
Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit self-tattoo kits include sterile professional vegan tattoo ink and sterile tattoo needles
The Perfect Sidekick Oakland based queer gym
Mars Attax Designs Oakland based one-of-a-kind handmade accessories
Validity Dildos and accessories
DapperBoi A kickstarter campaign to make androgynous jeans for a womans body. Get involved! Funding opportunities start on April 21st!
The cast of Oakland based web series Dyke Central modeling clothes was a treat.
Other important things to know about from the show:
What is Butch? Movement The first national traveling fashion show movement to showcase dominant lesbians, masculine of center persons, queer, androgynous, and transmen bodied models a place on the runway.
The Gorgeous Project Beauty and gender exploration by photographer Rob Lebow