Last year, I met a Qwear kid named Cal. Cal is a ten year old non binary artist and fashion lover.
I recently brought our photographer Sam Murray over to snap some photo of Cal's sartorial genius. We had a great afternoon together — I got to see the art which inspired Cal's style, as well as Cal's own pieces.
Cal's no. 1 favorite artist is Nick Cave. Others are Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Barry McGee. Upon seeing the work of these artists their influence is immediately apparent: Nick fave's wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and other-worldly, seem similar to Cal's bold choices in fabric and bright colors. Of his sculptures, Linda Yablonsky points out "There’s no way to know if they’re male or female, or of what race or class." I think the genderless look in particular must make Cal feel right at home — to be able to appreciate being human without having to assign a gender to themselves.
Warhol and Lichtenstein explain the colorful pop art influence and McGee, also a bold color master, shows a street art influence. Cal's not afraid to juxtapose patterns, colors, textures, and styles that don't normally go together.
Unlike many non binary and trans kids who face harassment and lack of bathroom access, Cal is lucky to attend an excellent school which affirms Cal's identity and allows Cal to express themselves - which of course includes access to whichever facility is best for Cal.
Cal's first post was with Cal's school photo. Cal gave me a small one to take home in case I want to gaze upon Cal's "fabulousness:"
Yes Cal, your fabulousness with forever be on my fridge.
By the way, the Jackson Pollock-like paintings on gold are Cal's own work.
Cal and Cal's brother also happen to have a sweet refurbished arcade, so they tend not to get bored.
Seeing a kid this free with their gender expression and this happy really brought me hope for the future.
Outfit details: Online Legging Store Leggings / Old Navy t- shirt / Sequin Blazer thrifted
Outfit details: leopard pants from rummage sale "girl's" section / Amazon Andy Warhol shirt / white faux fur coat and scarf from rummage sale "women's" section / Vans Shoes designed by Cal
After planning our photoshoot, Cal had a sports accident and broke Cal's thumb. I thought Cal might want to reschedule the shoot, but no — Cal's purple cast became beautifully incorporated into each outfit.
I'd like to send a big thank you to Cal's family for letting me take over their house with queers and cameras for the afternoon, as well as our amazing photographer, Sam Murray!
Cal is a beautiful example of how well kids can thrive when their identities are affirmed:
And finally, I get to pose with Qwear: the next generation!
Photography by Sam Murray
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.