An Interview with Marimacho

Last week, I attended a discussion on queer fashion hosted by Columbia University trans student group GendeRevolution. Also in attendance were Crystal González and Ivette Alé, the creative visionaries behind the newly launched masculine-of-center clothing line, Marimacho. I was honored to have a sneak peak at the Marimacho collection and instantly fell in love with its beautifully tailored, dapperQ aesthetic. I chatted with Crystal and Ivette to get more information about this amazing find and share it with our readers.

dapperQ: How did you come up with the name Marimacho?

Crystal: Let me start off with a brief definition of the name. “Marimacho” is Spanish slang for a masculine woman. It is generally used as a pejorative.

I remember first hearing the word when I was studying abroad in Argentina and was struck by the almost poetry of it. It was a word that just stuck in my mind. When I first starting thinking of doing a clothing line like this, the word just kind of popped back up. It fit perfectly.

dapperQ: Can you describe Marimacho’s style?

Ivette: Marimacho’s style is both dandy fashion and an urban aesthetic. It’s classic and tailored, but still playful.

dapperQ: Can you tell me a bit about the history and evolution of Marimacho?

Crystal: The idea originated some time during my third year of college. It was something I was hoping to do some time in the hypothetical future. When I met Ivette, I talked to her a bit about my plans. She has a background in the apparel industryand had been making her own clothes since she was little. Talking back and forth about it, we both got really excited. We found ourselves devoting a lot of time to developing and discussing the idea. We eventually decided to just do it.

dapperQ: Who or what inspires your designs?

Ivette: Our designs are inspired a lot by our backgrounds in music subculture. I grew up in Southern California’s rockabilly scene, which gave me a fascination with vintage style.

Crystal: For me it’s a lot of classic men’s styling – tailored suits, vests, bow-ties. It’s all the clothing that I’ve always wanted to wear but couldn’t find.

dapperQ: Many of our readers have problems finding masculine of center clothes that fit them properly. How is Marimacho addressing this issue?

Crystal: Essentially the clothes create clean, straight lines while accommodating female and trans proportions.

Ivette: We achieve this through strategic darting, hidden pleats, etc.We invested as much energy into the technical construction as we did the styling.

dapperQ: Do you see queer fashion as being different from more normative, mainstream fashion? If so, how?

Crystal: It’s hard to really say what queer fashion is.

Ivette: Fashionable gay men are very different from fashionable queer masculine women or trans men. But, what I see as a consistent thread is the challenging of gender-norms. There is greater mixing of menswear for women and women’s wear for men

Crystal: That’s very different from mainstream fashion, which generally promotes normative gender expressions.

dapperQ: At this week’s queer fashion discussion group, you [Crystal] mentioned something about menswear being a symbol of power. Can you elaborate for our readers?

Crystal: It wasn’t so much menswear as masculinity. When people adopt masculine ways of presenting themselves, they are often assuming privilege. They are presenting themselves in a way that is generally seen as stronger and more powerful. Even a few femme women [at the discussion group] recalled how they felt more respected when they dressed more masculine.

dapperQ: dapperQ is all about transgressing masculine fashions. Do you have any recommendations for our readers about how to do that well?

Ivette: One thing that Marimacho tries to do is mix opposites. Hard and soft. Formal and playful. One way for your readers to challenge normative masculine fashion is to not be afraid to cross gender boundaries, even in the same look.

Crystal: I am often inspired by the way gay men dress. It can be a wonderful juxtaposition of masculine and feminine that still clearly reads as masculine of center.

dapperQ: The two of you are a couple. How long have you been together and what is it like working professionally together?

Crystal: (Laughs) Good question.

Ivette: We’ve been together for almost two years. To be honest, it is really great working with Crystal, at least for me. We really feed off of each other’s ideas and work together efficiently.

Crystal: I think because we know each other so well, we can really facilitate each other’s creative process.

dapperQ: Where can our readers find you hanging out during your leisure time (not to encourage any stalking)?

Ivette: (Laughs). We usually hang out in Brooklyn. Some of the parties we go to regularly are Miss Thang at Sweet Revenge and That’s My Jam.

Crystal: The bklynboihood parties are also awesome.

dapperQ: When and how can our readers purchase Marimacho items?

Crystal: The collection will only be available via our website. We expect the online shop to launch in April. dapperQ readers can make sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get updates as we get closer to the launch.

dapperQ: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Crystal: It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to do something like this. Starting a business is not something I ever pictured myself doing at 23. And it’s not something I would have done were it not for all the amazing people who have helped us.

Photos courtesy of Marimacho, by Bex Wade

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