LGBTQ Impact on the Fashion Apparel Industry
Today, as we close out Pride Month, we need to take a moment to say “thank you” to the LGBTQ community for all the amazing contributions made to the Fashion Apparel Industry; an industry I have worked in and loved for over 35 years. These contributions include everything from the amazing apparel designers, magazine editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and photography are just some of the pieces of the puzzle that go into what we see on the final runways, in the stores, online, in magazines, and eventually in our closets.
For over 3 decades, I have embraced the designs, the bright colors, the flare with no restrictions, and the overall unique fashion and style contributions, and influences from the LGBTQ community.
After attending Fashion Industries High, Fashion Institute of Technology, working in the field of design, production, then technology, there has been one constant in my career; I have loved the diversity and representation in this exciting, sometimes crazy, ever-changing industry. My apparel career kicked off at 18- years old, working for Calvin Klein and my ride along the way has been amazing.
A few of our famous LGBTQ community fashion designers, pioneers, and influencers:
There are so many major influencers and contributors from the LGBTQ community who have done amazing work for decades and paved the way for so many in this industry. Let's take a look at a few:
Gianni Versace was an Italian designer and founder of Versace, an international fashion house that produces accessories, fragrances, make-up, home furnishings, and apparel. Gianni also designed costumes for the theatre and films. As his success continued to grow, Versace began establishing boutiques throughout the United States with the help of his family and became known all around the world.
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer who, in 1961, founded his fashion label. He is regarded as being among the greatest fashion designers, and the most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years. He approached fashion from a different perspective by wanting women to look comfortable yet elegant. He is also credited with having introduced the tuxedo suit for women.
Valentino is an Italian fashion designer, the founder of the Valentino brand. He studied fashion design and completed his formal training in Paris, and started his own line in Rome in 1959. By 1960, Valentino was ranked as a favorite designer of the world's best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy. Among his signatures look and sense of style, is a particular fabric shade, known as "Valentino red."
Michael David Kors is an American fashion designer. He is the honorary chairman and chief creative officer of his brand, Michael Kors, which sells men's and women's and ready-to-wear, accessories, watches, jewelry, footwear and fragrance. Kors was the first women's ready-to-wear designer for the French house Celine, from 1997 to 2003.
Billy Porter is an American Broadway theater performer, singer, and actor. In 1991, he was cast in the ensemble of Miss Saigon, which won three Tony Awards and became one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. He later appeared in musicals like Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Café, and the 1994 revival of Grease. This fashion style influencer is also an activist who boldly uses his sense of dramatic style and color ensembles to make strong political statements.
Fashion & the 2020 Civil Rights Movement
In a world filled with so much hatred, we find ourselves in the midst of a Civil Rights Movement after the brutal, inhumane, and unjust death of George Floyd. This moment in time as we once again find ourselves fighting for our rights and for our lives, we are trying desperately to help others not only say with their mouths, “Black Lives Matter” but show it with their actions, and hopefully with their votes in November.
In the 1960s in New York City, there were a number of repressive laws targeting LGBTQ people who were being disrespected and sometimes killed for being who they were. The Stone Wall Inn opened on Christopher Street in Manhattan in 1966 as an establishment that allowed everyone of any identity or orientation to be accepted, be themselves, and enjoy the nightlife.
However, on June 28, 1969, New York City police officers raided the Stonewall Inn. The raid sparked a riot among patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the establishment.
Pride Month takes place in June to commemorate the1969 Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in modern social movements. As we stand boldly, emphasizing, and standing up for Black lives, we want to take a moment as Pride month concludes and thank the LGBTQ community for their amazing contributions to this fashion apparel industry. We say Thank You! And we STAND with you in the fight for justice, equality, and recognition for your amazing work! Your work has contributed to our success in this business.