Meet the LGBTQI+ creatives smashing gender norms in style

WORDS BY FELICITAS SOPHIE VAN LAAK, IMAGES VIA INSTAGRAM

With gay men at the forefront, queer women are still a rarity in the mainstream fashion industry. So here are five queer designers and female owned brands that live up to the motto, “apparel oft proclaims the [wo]man”.

1. Hana Quist

The designer graduated from Parson School of Design this May. An AFAB (assigned female at birth) drag queen herself, Hana has dressed Aquaria and Milk amongst others. Her doll-like designs are inspired by 90s couture. She says, “I want to challenge the idea of the female muse and the male gaze by creating new codes of femininity that do not appeal to the male gaze.”

2. Wildfang

Queer CEO Emma Mcilroy co-founded the brand in 2013. Wildfang has a whole range of celebrity customers including Janelle Monáe, Lizzo, Megan Rapinoe and Ellen Page. “We exist to empower every kind of woman to be the best possible version of herself, smashing gender roles and the patriarchy in the process,” the owners state on their website. “Our store may be founded upon a woman’s right to menswear, but our core is founded upon a woman’s right to rights.”

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Clearly, I’m a fucking lady.

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3. Bowtie Behavior 

Founder Robin Williams, aka Robbie, has a BA in Journalism and an MA in Sports Management. When she couldn’t find bow ties that matched her style, she founded Bowtie Behavior in 2014. Teaching herself how to sew, Robbie started making her own bowties and they are GORGEOUS. 

4. Georgia Fallon

Georgia graduated from the University of Westminster with a BA in fashion design. Her Sydney-based brand, Dyke Sport, debuted at this year’s London Fashion Week. Moreover, she was included in Teen Vogue’s Generation Next Designers. Her luxurious sportswear label “reclaims a traditionally derogatory term – celebrating the beauty and fierceness of lesbian culture”.

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Still reeling from being selected and then showing my collection at Teen Vogue’s Gen Next NYFW Show – created this year by the inspiring @lpeopleswagner 🔥 was such an amazing experience to not only meet Anna Wintour ☺️😱 but to meet industry people I look up to and meet my fellow designers and hear their stories @slashedbytia @femailforever @_elenavelez @hanifaofficial ✨ I felt so welcomed and genuinely supported by the whole Teen Vogue team which was so refreshing 🥺💓 @tahairy @cameronrussellbird @sararradin @thesamhita ! Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone 🌈🌈🌈🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋💞💞💞💞💞💞 last video is me walking with my collection 🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵

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5. Stuzo Clothing

Founded in 2010 by Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme, Stuzo Clothing is dedicated to designing gender free clothing. Recently, Lena Waithe wore the label guest hosting on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Whether you’re looking for unapologetic statement tees or patterned shirts, they’ve got you covered.

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