5 Up-and-coming LGBT designers who are revolutionizing Queer Fashion

Holding a Pride flag in hand with plants in the background

Fashion icons like Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace and Alexander McQueen have shaped the world with their innovative designs. In fact, many of the most famous fashion designers are gay men who designed beautiful clothes that appealed to the masses. The LGBT community is filled with gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual and queer-identifying people looking to change fashion so that it celebrates their own identity. We have seen queer models featured in mainstream fashion shows and campaigns, but what about behind the scenes?

 These up-and-coming LGBT designers do not just want to appeal to the masses. They are actively contributing to a new era where queerness and fashion explicitly intercept. So, for Pride Month, we want to celebrate 6 LGBT+ designers who are revolutionizing Queer Fashion.

  1. Pierre Davis
Transgender designer, Pierre Davis posing in black and white dress  Looks 17 and 18 from No Sesso's AW20 Collection, ‘A Vignette of the Renaissance on 24th Street’
Pierre Davis is an LA-based designer known for her vibrant and agender designs. She made history by becoming the first transgender designer to show at New York Fashion Week in 2019. Her brand, No Sesso (which means “no sex/gender” in Italian), has amassed a huge following in LA and has even been worn by celebrities like Doja Cat and Tinashe.
Davis told the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) it is imperative “that people of all intersectional identities are given a fighting chance regardless of their identity. The playing field isn't level in the world, and it is even more difficult in fashion.” She hoped that No Sesso would “inspire people to be more community-minded and to realize not everything is just about aesthetics or commerce. It's also about humanity.”
 Look 12 from No Sesso's AW20 Collection, ‘A Vignette of the Renaissance on 24th Street’ Doja Cat wears striped dress No Sesso's SS20 Collection in 'Say So" music video
2. Hana Holquist
Hana Holquist in blue dress and pink and blue makeup
NYC-based designer Hana Holquist creates high-femme, dramatically draped designs that, though reminiscent of the classic Christian Dior silhouette, pays homage to the quirkiness and excitement of the queer nightlife scene. Singer Poppy and Rupal’s Drag Race winner, Aquaria, have worn her designs. Holquist has said, “As a lesbian, I’ve never felt the need to cater to men or the male gaze.” She creates feminine clothing specifically for the female gaze.
Hana Holquist red cape Hana Holquist sheer coat with bag dress
3. Gogo Graham
Gogo Graham poses for Out Magazine

Thrifting and upcycling have become important, and trendy, aspects of the fashion scene but Gogo Graham has been doing it for as long as she could remember. She now uses 100% upcycled thrifted material in all of her designs. She makes clothes specifically for trans women, telling the Cut magazine “I just wanted to make clothes for people of trans experience because I felt like that was something I had difficulty with.”

Gogo Graham Fashion Week 2020 Look, Blue off the shoulder dress Gogo Graham posing in blue and white dress

 

4. Diego Montoya

Diego Montoya with red background Rupaul's Drag Race Winner, Sasha Velour, in Deigo Montoya design 

Born in Peru but now based in New York, Diego Montoya has spawned several iconic looks for Rupaul’s Drag Race queens. He has dressed drag queen and actor, Shangela, for her Oscar’s debut, as well as several other prominent members of the drag scene. He works closely with his clients, stating, “The work I do builds upon what they’ve already created.” In regards to working with drag queens, Montoya said, “I love working in this realm because it is all based on fantasy. We can be anything.”

 Rupaul's Drag Race Contestant, Shangela, and actress Jenifer Lewis at the 2019 Oscars Drag Queen, Miz Cracker, in a custom leotard by Diego Montoya

 

5. Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme 

Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme sitting and laughing

Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme are the founders of Stuzo Clothing, which is dedicated to gender-free streetwear. Ejikeme told Forbes, “Our mission is to affirm and to empower people to live their truth.” The married couple’s brand is known for its bold colors and bold statements. Their designs often feature empowering phrases like “Woman Up” and “Black Magic”. A-list stars like Spike Lee and Tiffany Haddish have worn their clothes.

Girl in black lipstick wearing Black Magic crewneck Women in hat and braids wearing Free by Nature sleeveless shirt

Repurpose is committed to raising funds to support systemic policy racism by partnering with the following organizations. Net proceeds of online sales will go to the following organizations.  

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Blog post by Kayla Sabre

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