The Queer History of the Fanny Pack

High fashion adopted the fanny pack that us queers have adorned ourselves with for years.

What was once considered fashion-faux pas by the straight cis world is now flaunted by celebrities from Kendall Jenner to A$AP Rocky.

Some say the popularization of Coachella revived the fanny pack; others link it to rave culture. There is very little discourse, however, about the fanny pack's link to queer culture, and in particular lesbian culture. The same sexism and homophobia that prevents people from recognizing the positive impacts queer people have on society is the very force that has made our style so worthy of stealing.

 
Connie modeling a fanny pack in her Qwear style profile

Connie modeling a fanny pack in her Qwear style profile

 

Much like flannel and Birkenstocks, fanny packs have been a part of the practical queer wardrobe since lesbian second-wave feminists chose to eschew fashion in favor of practical clothing. The FIT's 2013-14 queer fashion exhibit referred to this style as "anti-fashion," which emerged after stonewall in the 70's. The anti-fashion style has maintained a central component of lesbian culture. The style was captured in a 1993 photo of a couple decked in mom jeans denim jackets, and a fanny pack; kissing at the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights romance. 1993

March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights romance. 1993

Ad in The Advocate Nov 14, 1995

Ad in The Advocate Nov 14, 1995

In 2000, the revival of Roller Derby, the best full-contact sport with majority women, emerged. Queer women flocked to the sport and brought their fanny packs with them. Derbiest Aimee owns multiple fanny packs, saying, "They are huge in derby culture since our uniforms don't usually have pockets and you wouldn't want to keep skate tools etc in your pockets while playing anyway!"

Today the fanny pack is popular among queers of all genders and styles, as the anti-fashion trend became incorporated into the bold, offbeat fashion choices that have become popular method of queer resistance over the past several years.

Though they are now mainstream, no one can deny our historical connection to the fanny pack, nor can they deny that our love for them will stand the test of time.

There is still some benefit for us though, because it's now easier to fill out our collections:

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.