The Brooklyn Museum's "Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" exhibit has been exploring the rich history of the more commonly considered "feminine" shoes.
Displaying elevated footwear from the seventeenth century up into the contemporary, the exhibition examines the "mystique and transformative power of the elevated shoe and its varied connections to fantasy, power and identity." Though fashion at large tends to focus more on the traditionally feminine, style presents a vehicle for many to actualize their identities, particularly in regard to the wide realm of gender. This past weekend, the ever excellent DapperQ, also know as "GQ for the unconventionally masculine," presented an alternative example of "fantasy, power and identity" in their show:
"(un)Heeled: A Fashion Show for the Unconventionally Masculine."
This incredible show brought together seven visions in fashion to present a new and unique take on what androgyny and masculinity mean in the context of clothing.
The evening started off with mini pop-up shops for several of the brands, as well as a "Dapper Academy" where attendees could learn how to tie a bow tie, how to style with statement socks, and other dapper necessities. The show itself displayed designs by Angie Chuang, Jag & Co., Saint Harridan, Sharpe Suiting, Goorin Bros, Bindle & Keep, and Sir New York. Along with 46 other gender-queering models, our friend and guest blogger Rae/The Handsome Butch walked the runway representing Bindle & Keep tailoring.
Myself and our other writers well know that it can be very difficult to even find representation of our personal styles in the media, much less in fashion we can actually purchase at a reasonable price. As DapperQ editor-in-chief Anita Dolce Vita said, "Many of our readers' identities have been erased. When there is little in society that represents them, there is often no point of reference for their existence. We work to provide that visibility and space." In the new fashion space that tends to glorify one specific kind of androgyny, real gender non-conforming and untraditionally masculine folks rarely see themselves represented. (un)Heeled proudly bucked that trend, displayed a great diversity in the models and designs on stage, ranging in size, shape, gender, and color, through to traditional *mens style suits, street style, and futuristic androgyny.
In recognition of the struggles affecting another marginalized community and its intersections with our own, Saint Harridan's models walked with Black Lives Matter signs, and the dapperQ production staff concluded the event with Hands Up, Don't Shoot, joined by hundreds in the crowd. We believe that this is an important statement of allyship and understanding in a community that is often divided.
Perhaps some would say that a fashion show is not the place for political demonstration, but Anita Dolce Vita poignantly stated, "We cannot extricate style from politics in the queer community. Fashion is not just fashion. For some, simply wearing a suit is a radical and political act. dapperQ is a queer fashion revolution, one of the most stylish forms of protest of our generation. We stand in solidarity."
Qwear is proud to be a part of the queer fashion revolution. We also stand in solidarity with our friends at dapperQ and the movement for equal human rights everywhere. We look forward to further exhibitions of queer fashion in the future, and as one of the largest genderqueer fashion shows in the world yet to date, (un)Heeled will hopefully be the first of many.