On Thursday night, across the East River and a few miles away from most of the NYFW action, a very different sort of runway show transpired. It was the third annual queer fashion show hosted by dapperQ, a style website and production company focused on masculine style for women, gender queers, and non-binary and trans-identified individuals. The multi-designer show took place (again) at the Brooklyn Museum, with a catwalk set up in the institution's stately Beaux Arts pavilion. This time around, the event was dubbed iD; last year's show
was called Verge.
The catwalk was open to the public, unlike the vast majority of Fashion Week events, befitting the "radically inclusive" nature of queer culture circa 2016, as fellow Refinery29 staffer Ash Hodges described it. "As a masculine-of-center lesbian, going to this fashion show is perhaps the only time that I felt like fashion companies see me, or that clothing was made for my body instead of stolen from men's fashion and pinned to fit my female frame," she explained. "It's a beautiful thing to see models, women like me, wearing what would traditionally be called men's fashion on a runway."
Model and activist Rain Dove underscored the show's sense of place and belonging: "The reason the dapperQs show is so important is because it offers hope and inspiration that change is being made, and that there is something more," Dove told Refinery29. "It reminds people that though their identities and sexualities may not be represented in all mainstream media and ad campaigns; that that doesn't mean that there isn't a support base, or that they are alone."
The event had an exuberant atmosphere — a feeling that there was something being accomplished and communicated on the runway, bigger than just concepts about clothing — that isn't frequently found at fashion shows. "There was a buzz of excitement as a community that feels largely ignored by fashion and media poured in to see themselves represented, many for the first time," Hodges said, aptly describing the celebratory vibes.
Ahead, check out the work (and musings on the intersection of fashion and gender identity) from the designers featured in this year's dapperQ show — Angie Chuang, Sir New York, Sharpe Suiting + NiK Kacy, Stuzo Clothing, The Tailory, Thomas Thomas, and We Are Mortals.