Every garment by default codes the body at some level. As social indicators, their implied meanings are stable. When adorning the non-binary body, the set of meanings typically associated with a gendered garment varies even more greatly as institutionalised ideals of gender in fashion, while taken fully into account by its wearer, can become peripheral to their intentions. The understanding which values the garment beyond instantaneous and aesthetic gratification endowed by the manufacturer, is then replaced by a colloquial language, placing its wearer’s gender and sexuality central to the clothed message.
There is, however, inherent merits in the designs of the garments which I have picked to be photographed in. I wanted to highlight the second-skin fit of the dresses and the top in the photographs, and the hapticity of sheer fabrics, metallic fabrics and embellished textures in conjunction to the portrayal of my body, as a locus of fashion discourse. The reference to ‘elegant style’ and ‘timelessness’ through column silhouettes, along with the emphasis on a seamlessness between body and dress then serve to explore my negotiations between a sense of conformism, as a product of inevitable social conditioning and queer aesthetics as personal, lived experience.
The queer consumer’s wielding of ‘cult’ and ‘designed’ items could also be an exercise in exhibiting privileges to mitigate the minority condition. Cultural capital and social mobility are denoted in the clothed message through the rarity of the Gaultier top that survived from spring 1994, or the cultural obscurity associated with the suede-tagged Imitation of Christ dress. Big-ticket pieces from their relative seasons such as the Christopher Kane pleated lame panel dress from spring 2017 or the Napoleon and Josephine scarf from Autumn 2016 by Y/Project under Glenn Martens on the other hand, command acknowledgement of the queer consumer’s economic mobility, which I hope would challenge the willful exclusion of non-binary individuals under capitalism.’
Written by An (@phatbitch123)
Curation and Photography: Asafe Ghalib @asafeghalib