Queers are easily criminalized — we are fugitives of fashion. Our bodies become targets while our styles become obsessions.
— Rupi, Qwear Fashion Director
Qwear showcases LGBTQIA+ modes of expression to expand our visual representation. Fashion is integral to our health and survival as queer people. As certain queer identities become normalized within white and cis spaces, we aim to keep our community united in our fight for liberation by coming together on a single platform. By elevating the voices of our more marginalized members, we hope to allow those with more access and opportunities the chance to learn from and fight for the existence of those who have been silenced.
Every Qwear feature insists upon the beauty of queer bodies and expression. The increased risk that queer people face and the intersection of identity and expression creates a situation in which art and fashion thrive. Our expression is integral to forming our identities in a society which constantly acts to erase us. Our fight for visisblity is what makes queer fashion so sophisticated and layered.
Qwear was founded in 2011 by trans rights activist Sonny Oram, and has since grown to include a team of writers spanning the United States, as well as contributors from around the world. Our content includes answering reader’s style “Qwearies,” as well as documenting our expression through style profiles, interviews, events, commentary, and personal pieces. We elevate independent brands and designers, review clothing, and educate the mainstream fashion industry about queer identities. Our community pieces bring together those of us whose stories are too often erased, such as femmes of color and plus size androgynous expression. Our editorials showcase projects and events happening within the queer fashion sphere.
We’ve produced several fashion installations and shows. In 2015, Dismantle Me explored the vibrant interaction between traditional fashion aesthetic and the queer experience. Dismantle Me appeared in Queer Fashion Week, Oakland, April 2015; Rainbow Fashion Week, New York, June 2015; and VERGE at Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston Fashion Week, October 2015. Our Femme Desire show was a site-specific fashion installation at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art on October 7th, 2016 that exposed the limits within which fashion designers and society put on the expression of femininity.
The queer experience is hypersensitive to society’s inflicted gender roles. We intuitively reference, challenge, and reinterpret the binary sartorial codes borrowed from mainstream culture that signify femininity and masculinity. Our presentations challenge the racial, ethnic, cultural, age, beauty, and size norms set forth by the fashion industry.
— Sonny Oram + Anita Dolce Vita + Joel Sanders
MISSION STATEMENT CREDITS
Rupi, Qwear Fashion Director
Courtney Stirn, Qwear Writer
Rachel Lee, LOUD: New Orleans Queer Youth Theater