A Collected Style Interview: dapperQ
dapperQ is a visibility project that celebrates the inner and outer beauty of masculine-presenting lesbians, gender-nonconformists and genderqueers, and transmasuline individuals of all colors, shapes, and sizes. dapperQ does have a fashion focus. But, more importantly, it serves as a vehicle to explore fashion as a social construct, providing our readers and writers with a safe space to document and discuss how gender role expectations, particularly with respect to gender identity and expression, shape who we are as individuals and as a community.
ACG-What’s your definition of Style?
DQ-“Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” This quote, which has been attributed to French artist Jean Cocteau, really reflects much of what we are trying to convey through our work at dapperQ.
Fashion is not created in a vacuum. It influences and is influenced by the world around us. Fashion can be oppressive, embodying and perpetuating all of society’s oppressive “isms.” Or, it can be a source of freedom, revolutionary and liberating.
Personal style is how we use fashion to communicate our individuality. Model Marisa Berenson once said, “Style is sort of an expression of yourself. It gives people the possibility to be creative and to express themselves in ways that maybe they can’t express in words sometimes.” dapperQ is all about allowing our readers that freedom, empowering them to feel confident and to use their own personal style as a positive force for change.
ACG-What inspired your Brand?
DQ-Fashion and personal style are art forms and should be about freedom of expression. But, patriarchal, fat-phobic, hetero-nomative, racist and sexist rules about how we “should” dress have restricted how we have been able to express ourselves through fashion and personal style and have limited many minority groups from having complete access to and a full voice in the fashion world.
dapperQ is for masculine-of-center lesbians, dykes, butches, tombois, studs, AGs, and transmasculine individuals who want to make any element of men’s fashion truly their own. It’s for all who have been discouraged — in a million and one subtle and not-so-subtle ways — from gleaning for self-expression from the rich and robust universe pioneered over centuries by dapper gents and today reflected in glossies such as GQ, Details, and Esquire. We are inspired by those who have broken boundaries before us and hope to inspire those who come after us to continue the fight for equality in every realm of our society, including fashion!
ACG-The do’s and don’t’s of Style/Fashion?
DQ-Do stay true to yourself. Don’t cave to unrealistic ideals and expectations.
ACG-How does your Brand stand out from others?
DQ-When dapperQ first started three years ago, we were immediately inundated with hundreds of reader questions ranging from how to find menswear that fits female and transmasculine bodied individuals to which dressing rooms members of our community were legally “allowed” to use. dapperQ has paved the way by answering questions that no other sites had previously answered and by compiling existing resources into one centralized, user-friendly location.
ACG-What’s one thing you would take out of Fashion World and one thing you would add?
DQ-We’d take out exclusivity and add equality.
ACG-Tips for people who are looking to refine their style?
DQ-We wrote a more comprehensive post on how to define and refine your personal style. I think one of the most important tips we gave is to find inspiration. Really stylish people are inspired by the world around them, be it other individuals, fashion magazines, blogs, music, their culture and history, and even nature and architecture. They are able to take this inspiration and create a style that is uniquely their own.
ACG-What’s going to be big this Winter/Spring season?
DQ-We’ve been seeing a lot of gender-bending in menswear. Last month alone, we were happy to report that Time magazine featured Casey Legler, a female-identified model signed to work EXCLUSIVELY as a male model with Ford, and that the high-end luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent has selected Dutch model Saskia de Brauw to front the campaign for their spring/summer 2013 menswear collection. Even dapperQ was featured on Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast T.V. We hope this is not just a “trend” and that the momentum continues well beyond Winter/Spring.
ACG-All time favorite item can be a shirt, shoes etc.?
DQ-Well, each of the members of our team has a personal favorite item. So, we’ll just say that our readers obsess the most over (1) bow-ties and (2) blazers/vests. Posts that involve bow-ties in some form or fashion generate a lot of traffic. Also, our readers swear that blazers/vests are the most flattering on any shape (and most of our team agrees).
ACG-Who’s your style icon and why?
DQ-Our readers are very diverse and thus have a wide range of style icons. We recently started a Style-Icons column showcasing the styles of everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Rocco Katastrophe.
Photo Credits:Leslie Van Stelten,Shaina Chin, Matthew Andris,Bex Wade, TT Tappan, and Yi-Ching Lin
Models:Allex Knight, Hana Tojo,Johnell Lawrence, and LK Weiss, and Ariel Speedwagon