Earlier this week I had a chance to chat with the team at dapperQ which is extremely exciting. After hearing they will be hosting a fashion based panel at SXSW this year, TFF had to find out exactly what the dapperQ crew has planned for this event. We discussed everything from the event itself to how they plan on bringing queer fashion to the forefront in main stream media. Enjoy the segment, share with friends, and make sure you check out their panel at this years SXSW event!
TFF: Tell us a little about the history of dapperQ.
DQ: dapperQ is the premier style website and fashion show production company focusing on masculine style for women, gender queers, and non-binary and trans-identified individuals.
Dubbed GQ for the “unconventionally masculine,” dapperQ was among the first digital spaces to champion menswear for those traditionally under-served by mainstream menswear media and designers.
Started in 2009, dapperQ was originally a personal blog chronicling the individual style of its original founder. However, I quickly noticed that dapperQ could be much bigger than another Tumblr-esque fashion blog. There was as serious dearth of comprehensive fashion and lifestyle magazines that were similar to GQ and Vogue, but that actually served the needs of the dapperQ market. I took over the website and brought on a team of queer writers, photographers, videographers, designers, and stylists to start producing wide-ranging original content and events for which we have received media coverage in The New York Times, Vice, Nylon, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post, to name a few. Our events have been showcased at world renowned cultural institutions, including Brooklyn Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and the California Academy of Sciences. This year, we will be the first ever queer style panel to present at South by Southwest during their official Sxstylelineup.
TFF: What inspired your vision creatively for dapperQ?
DQ: The vision was inspired by a growing number of queers in the community who are leveraging style as visual activism to create positive social change in the community. Fashion was by and large seen as the enemy of many queer and feminist radical political movements – and for good reason, given that the mainstream fashion industry is fatphobic, transphobic, misogynous, and generally an oppressive machine that perpetuates the patriarchy.
But, fashion has always been political and has the ability to make impactful statements. (Just look at the power of the outfits worn by Beyonce’s dancers at the Super Bowl!) Queer style has its own revolutionary roots, but is also part of a rich legacy of style as visual activism, including the symbolic political resistance of the Zoot suit and flapper dress, just to name a couple of popular examples from Western culture.
This year you’re hosting the first queer panel in the history of SxSW. What made you want to become a part of this event and how did you go about reaching out to their team?
We feel that SXSW reaches beyond the mainstream to advance forward-thinking ideas by thought-leaders in various industries. We have, and will continue to, make big waves by producing unapologetically queer fashion events during New York Fashion Week. But, we want to take our message beyond the fashion industry to global influencers.
TFF: Tell us a little about the concept of the panel and what patrons can expect to see when attending.
DQ: The panel is titled “Queer Style: Visual Activism and Fashion’s Frontier” and will feature eight prominent queer style leaders, including myself representing dapperQ (NYC); Sonny Oram of Qwear (Boston); Aja Aguirre of Fit for a Femme (Boston by way of The Bay); and Leon Wu of Sharpe Suiting (Los Angeles). We will explore queer style as an enigmatic art form that is the new fashion frontier and examine queer style as visual activism that creates positive social change. Attendees will gain knowledge about how to succeed in this growing market using approaches that are effective and culturally competent.
TFF: What do you hope to achieve by showcasing dapperQ at this year’s SXSW festival?
DQ: We hope to start a conversation about gender identity and expression, celebrating queer style and advancing greater freedom for all people to express themselves as they so choose, regardless of how they identify. Queer style is a revolution for the people!
TFF: What else can we expect from dapperQ this year?
DQ: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! We have some big fashion events, but I can’t leak anything at the moment. But, be prepared for some amazing shows and events!
TFF: Name the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “Dapper.”
TFF: Tell us about some of the trials and tribulations you’ve endured while putting together dapperQ.
DQ: I think our biggest hurdle has been talking with mainstream fashion industry reps about why queer style is important. Some people definitely get it. But, others ask, “Isn’t fashion already gay?” But, queer style as an aesthetic transcends gay male fashion designers creating binary, gender-normative, heteronormative collections to fit the fashion industry’s unattainable beauty ideals. Queer style dismantles limiting rules that have been systematically employed as a means of symbolically and literally perpetuating restrictive binaries and oppressing freedom of expression. It’s about inclusion and dismantling everything we’ve been taught about beauty norms rooted in ableism, classism, fatphobia, ageism, racism, misogyny, transphobia, and self-hate. Queer style is a social movement.
TFF: Last question. What inspires you daily on a creative level?
DQ: The diverse, vast beauty of the queer community.