Monday, March 1, 2010

feminist fashion show: TOMORROW

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buttons salima and i made for les monologues du vagin in québec city

i've had many conversations with fellow feminists about what a fashion show for us would look like. of course, what the clothing itself would be, but also who the models, designers, how our version of the industry circus would present itself. would everything be affordably priced? environmentally friendly? made by women? clothing that is easily adaptable to different bodies? everyone had such different ideas that it was insane to try and visually imagine what it would look like.

imagine my surprise (and happiness!) when i heard that there are feminists who are not only asking themselves these questions, but putting it into action by organizing their very own feminist fashion show tomorrow, march 2nd at 3pm, in toronto on the york university campus. click on the link for more info!

since i can't be there myself, i decided to send off an email to the wonderful organizers of this event, Alyssa and Melanie, to ask them a few questions about their event and also to get you guys out to it! after the event, they'll be sending me a few photos to share with you!

without further ado, i give you our interview:

Garçonnière: What will the models be like?

Mel: The models that we will be having in the show will be bodies that are not normally represented in mainstream fashion, as well as those that are. For this reason, we will be having drag, trans, disability, burlesque, kink, BDSM, as well as mainstream models. We are aiming to be fluid in our representations to allow people to question the normative nature of models in mainstream fashion and what this dominant discourse does to our gender roles, socialization practices, body image etc.


Garçonnière: What kind of set up will you guys have, and how did you decide on it? (traditional runway, standing models, chessboard or holograms a la McQueen).

Alyssa: Working with not only our space but our concepts as well, we don't want to have the typical runway show. If we're trying to resist against normativity, limiting the show to a traditional runway would just be no fun!


We were inspired by the underground queer vogue-ing houses that were popular in the 1980s (for a great article on the history of this underground culture, read more here.). We want it to not lose any of the "show" aspect - We want to take up space to metaphorically represent marginalized bodies taking up public space. Thus our models will not be limited to a stage but will be modeling on tables, dancing, working with staircases, coming from multiple angles, up ramps and down hallways (as we want to have an accessible aspect) and so on.


G: What kind of music are you using in your show?

Alyssa: We're trying to combine feminist awareness but at the same time reach out to mainstream minds. So we've got high energy, loud, vibrant music, but at the same time, the lyrical content and message is feminist -friendly. The playlist works to be inclusive - we've got all types of genres and artists, from Nine Inch Nails to Rihanna to Le Tigre and different cultural music as well.

G: What do you want people to take away after having seen your fashion show?

Mel: Our main goal in the Feminist Fashion Show is try and get people to re-think their normative conceptions of mainstream fashion and the media. We want people to question what they think about fashion, push their boundaries about sexual expression, gender roles, queer beings, feminism and the fashion show style. We hope by doing this we will provide visibility of the feminist and queer community while educating about expressions outside the boundaries of heteronormativity.


G: What other sorts of events is WSUSC organizing?

Mel: In November of last year the WSUSC organized a symposium entitled "The F Word." The aim of this was to try and address why feminism has become a taboo within our generation and why many do not want to take up the label. The panelists that the event feminist theoretical lens to give the audience and diverse perspective on the different approaches and thought within feminist (i.e. fat feminism, feminism and the church etc). This is our last event of this year, but be prepared to see MANY more exciting and boundary pushing events starting in September of 2010.

G: Do you find being students inspires the kinds of events you organize? Or do you find that it shows you that there is a need for events like the feminist fashion show?

Mel: There are many political bodies and student run organizations within York University that allows for many forms of expression. However, what we noticed over the past couple of years is that there has not really been any radical grassroot feminist activism on the campus. Because of this, we decided to run the Women's Studies Undergraduate Student Club (WSUSC) to allow for this voice and to support and recognize the work that feminists do on campus. It has been through the lack of feminist and queer activism that inspired us as third wave, radical feminist's to create this event. It is through events like the fashion show that allows for "mainstream" students to question their dominant ideological lens. If we were to continue to just hold private events we would only be preaching to the converted. Visibility and voices are major keys to change the lens of North American thought.


Where can people find out more about your event (i.e online resources, in person, etc)

Alyssa: We're trying to get our message out on multiple blogs. We have a twitter account, we have a facebook group (Feminist Action @ YU) and event page. We have a webpage linked with the U.N. At York University, we have an office inside Founders College and work closely with the Womens Studies department. And of course, we do most of our communication with those who are interested in our cause through our email, undergrad.ws.collective@gmail.com. We're trying to reach every form of promotion possible and are still looking for more!

image from the sartorialist

And last but not least, since you're being interviewed by a fashion blog, what are your favourite blogs or readings about feminist fashion?

Alyssa: Personally my favourite fashion blog is The Sartorialist. I like the idea of a fashion based publication that actually reaches onto the streets and finds real people with a personal sense of fashion. It seems sometimes that fashion doesn't translate from the pages of the couture focused magazines onto the streets. At the same time, 'fashion' to the mainstream consumer is often confused with what is mass produced and you're left with clones that actually have a style that runs counter to the root of fashion, self-expression and art related to the body as a canvas. So the Sartorialist kind of plays the middle-man (or middle-woman!) between those two ideas.

thanks so much for giving me your free time when you're so busy organizing what sounds like an amazing event! I can't wait to hear about how it turns out and to share pictures with you guys.

WHAT IS BEAUTY? WHAT IS FASHION? HOW DOES FEMINISM PLAY INTO THIS?
March 2nd, 2010 at 3pm

WSUSC'S FEMINIST FASHION SHOW Plans to blur boundaries, fuck with the gender binary, and revolutionize how we see formerly oppressive institutions such as fashion. We aim to represent all bodies - fat, skinny, trans, black, white, brown, yellow, boy, girl, drag, burlesque, kink, and so on. 

Feminist Action @ YU is going to show you that grassroots activism is STILL ALIVE! 

COME OUT TO THE EVENT where we will be having a FREE RAFFLE and FREE GIVEAWAYS from our SPONSORS!!! Including these sexy prizes:

$100 value prize from Good For Her (http://www.goodforher.com/)
$50 value prize from Come as You Are (http://comeasyouare.com/)
Free giveaways from the STAG SHOP! (https://www.stagshop.com/home.php)

4 comments:

Cheri Pinktrix said...

That sounds like an awesome event! I wish I could have been there!

Andi B. Goode said...

That sounds like it would be really interesting! I enjoyed reading the interview, though. =D
-Andi x

Bon Vivant Clique said...

i am following your blog. i love feminist fashion blogs.

rainawebd said...


Its a nice blog and given the best informetion thanks for the given info..

priya
ankitha
nazlin

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