Does gender play a role in your styling?
No. It’s something that’s just with me everyday. All my friends are gay, straight, trans, and it’s something that is just so engrained into who they are.
That makes sense. You can't separate that trait from the person. It's a part of who you are.
Yeah I know it’s a really big topic right now, but I don't feel right drawing lines and categorizing people.
I'm just surrounded by lots of different people. My friends are a-gender, non-gender. Some don’t define themselves as a man or women but just as they want. I don’t feel like we have to name things and put words on them. They can choose to be whatever they want and to not have a specific gender or whatever.
I never intended on gender being a main theme of my work. People started questioning my intentions after my first collection and it sort of caught me off guard. I was just portraying men how I saw them, as a reflection of my personal worldview. I think being a woman designing for men is a big part of this. I thought well why can't men experiment with different elements of style each season like women do? If you're into ruffles one season and military jackets the next, that doesn't mean you're changing your gender identity or sexuality. I think it's exciting to give men options to have fun with clothes. For women it's commonly accepted that the way they dress is an extension of their personality. But for men, once you hit a certain age you get stuck in this uniform. I'm really starting to explore and subvert these societal expectations. It has both a very serious conceptual side but also can be mocked in a sly humorous way. I really love walking on this line between the two.
Yeah. Is fashion a good place to express ideas and evoke discussions about gender and sexuality?
Definitely. Is it always understood? No. Do people take advantage of it? Yes. My first story for CR online was a transgender story. I had a huge, huge, huge point that I wanted to make when we were planning it. I was like, "I don't want any of these girls to feel like we're just casting them because they're trans girls. I want them to feel like they are beautiful models because they all are" and they all looked beautiful and they all looked like fashion models and that was the point. It wasn't about them necessarily being a trendy topic or a trendy discussion. They all have such interesting lives and I want to know about it, I want to know what path they want to go down and what they want out of life and what voice they want to have in the future and what voice they have now.
I want them to be able to express whatever they want to express and use this as a platform as much as I'm using them as models because I think it's a two-way street when you work with anybody. I always try to meet the people that I work with before I work with them and I think especially for that case, in terms of gender identity and gender idea, it's super, super important to respect that and super important to understand that. I think fashion has a really good way of understanding that but I think that also can be misinterpreted a lot of times. It can go wrong in a lot of ways but I think it's important that fashion is all about acceptance and change and differences and uniqueness which is what makes it the perfect place for that discussion to happen.
If I'm hearing you correctly you wanted these girls to feel like the fact that they're transgender didn't define them?