"Push the ideas and then draw a way in."
Pat McGrath once told me that; such resistance and persistence enabled her to become the most in-demand makeup artist in the world. Recently, her namesake product line hit £1 billion in sales, making her the first African American woman to do so.
Being the first at something, especially in the fashion industry, means more when the pioneer comes from a marginalised community. It means someone cultivated change in a space where newness wasn't encouraged or welcomed. The fashion industry has seen an internal reckoning in recent seasons; diversity of all kinds is flourishing, and once-hushed voices are now being heard. But that's also exactly what has those on the inside and out are so afraid: that it will be just a blip in time, a fad.
That's not stopping the LGBTQ+ community, however. More LGBTQ+-identifying and gender-fluid designers are binding together to create the change they want to see in the business. Especially during Fashion Month, we've seen the genesis of new brands that hold radical inclusivity and diversity at its core — and they're penetrating the luxury fashion sector. To name a few: Luar, Nihl, Kenneth Nicholson, Alessandro Trincone, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, and Patrick Church. We've spoken to a few of those brands ahead on what their labels add to the current market, how gender identity and expression have contributed (or not) to their brand's ethos, and if, ultimately, queerness has found its place in high fashion.
We're not talking a Pride collection or a slogan tee here - no. The brands in the slideshow ahead are what you don't see when already-established fashion houses start to dip their toes in the waters of how different the future of fashion could look like. They're the brands that reflect what fashion looks like now.
Welcome to MyIdentity. The road to owning your identity is rarely easy. In this yearlong program, we will celebrate that journey and explore how the choices we make on the outside reflect what we’re feeling on the inside — and the important role fashion and beauty play in helping people find and express who they are.