What is it about “the gays” that so binds them to the creative impulse, particularly in the realm of fashion?
Fashion itself is a complex intersection of presentation, cultural expression, social commentary, and crafted artifice. It is this last element that perhaps speaks most directly to homosexual realities.
Although modern society has evolved to extend a modicum of acceptance to those whose orientation deviates from “the norm,” there remains an assortment of stigmas, biases, and discomforts that often necessitate a certain amount of self-protecting artifice in how queers present themselves to the world.
From leather daddies to drag queens, the deliberate, conscious attempt to shape perception lies at the heart of an almost tribal impulse to display identifiers that connect with one’s social group.
We can compare and contrast fashion versus style in this context. Where fashion is, by definition, focused on outward presentation, often with commercial intent, style addresses the personal, individual expression of one’s world view, unique identity, and visual signature. We can purchase fashion, but style is something innate. You can attempt to copy another’s style, but merely executing some form of mimicry does not, by itself, generate your own unique style. Personal style, by definition, is personal. We can assimilate aspects of others’ style, but how we interpret, execute and commit to that assimilation is what drives true self-expression.
At a meta level, queer style expression is an invitation to everyone to explore and express their personal style without fear of censure or criticism. By exhibiting a degree of confidence and fearlessness, queer style creates safer spaces for self-expression for everyone.
That invitation to expressive freedom extends beyond fashion and style to interior design and other creative endeavours. A Chinese red dining room? Why not? Framed prints of 1920s erotic photography in the bathroom? WHY NOT?
Perhaps this is the central message we’re trying to communicate here. Instead of asking yourself, “Can I do this?” we could emphatically ask ourselves, “WHY NOT?” You have nothing to lose but your insecurity.