So once there was this gay dude named Jahn Hall and this straight dude named Kurt Uhlendorf who, between ’em, had decades of experience in the fashion industry. Just months after launching a company called Brooklyn Dry Goods that sells vintage menswear, they decided to co-produce dapperQ’s first fashion show concurrent with the Gay Old Opry — a brainchild of Gina Mamone’s RiotGrrrl Ink.
Pictured below styling Becca Blackwell, Kurt (left) and Jahn (right) spent hours fitting us, sourcing clothes, styling us and recruiting their friends to do free hair and make-up for our show. For Jahn, it was a chance to bridge the lack of unity between gay boys and us. And to expand definitions of queer fashion. As a straight man, it was a chance for Kurt to show solidarity with his many queer friends and to bring his skills to advancing queer pride. Before we walked, Kurt shared with the group how moved he was to hear the fashion challenges shared by those of us who transgress men’s fashion. Throughout the project I was blown away by their generosity of spirit.
As these photos by Syd London confirm, our sixteen models were dressed to the nines. The theme: American matinee idols of the past. Bow-ties and contrasting flannels were everywhere. Me and my gal, Shannon Lynch, lead the photo line-up. Included? Sinclair Sexsmith, Drae Campbell, Calvin Rey, Niki Cutler, Rachel Feldman, Paris Harris, Geri Klein, Dru Levasseur, Leah Robinson (pictured right), Ariel Speedwagon, KS Stevens, Nic Switch and Cal Trumann. What these photos only hint at was the camradarie and the sense of purpose we shared in representing for dapperQ’s everywhere. Some folks might be confused or judgmental about these images of transgressive men’s fashion, but few can deny the intentionality. We don’t look this way by accident or because we can’t do any better. In fact, we’ve got wildly talented allies from the fashion industry who recognize our transgressions as cutting-edge and want to both support and be aligned with what we represent.
Here, Makeup/Image Artist Kellie Muse brings out the best in Dru.
Below, menswear designer John Tee, who volunteered with Auston Bkorkman (openly trans co-founder of a clothing line called Sir New York), perfects a cuff for Cal Trumann.
Jahn is also a leading fashion photographer and we are in the process of producing portraits he captured of each model at the event as well as how-to videos that explain how our readers can knowledgeably reproduce some of the looks Brooklyn Dry Goods created with us.
My profound thanks to all who participated!