Dapper: having a neat appearance; dressed in attractive clothes; clothing attractive and of high quality. Preppy and formal attire can be dapper. But, these aesthetics are not synonymous with dapper. Savvy, fashion-forward individuals know that dapper has a broader meaning and encompasses diverse styles.
Enter SUNSUN custom unisex clothing, a queer-owned brand offering casual custom pieces in bright, Kente cloth, geometric, and graphic prints. I was recently introduced to the brand at the inaugural Queer Fashion Week in Oakland and instantly became a fan. So, I reached out to Francesca Nocera (aka Sun Sun) the creative visionary behind SUNSUN to get an in-depth look into the print world of their designs.
Sun Sun: I am an androgynous, queer person who’s really into fashion, music, and art. My clothing line, SUNSUN, focuses on androgynous comfortable custom clothes. I try to make clothes that many different body types and sizes can wear and feel comfortable. My clothes come in Small to XXX-Large and they are made to order locally in Toronto and delivered worldwide. The company is myself (Francesca Nocera aka Sun Sun), Ayo Leilani (manager), and Ortal Amar (sewer). I create the designs, find the fabrics, cut the patterns, handle the orders, do the silkscreening, sew labels and mail [orders] out. Leilani helps with business advice, promotions, and social media. Ortal is my sewer.
dapperQ: Can you tell me a bit about the history and evolution of SUNSUN? What motivated you to start the brand?
Sun Sun: I got the idea to start making pants on New Years day 2013. I had seen a video on YouTube of this elder talking about what the new year holds. He said to pay attention to the first idea that you have in 2013, not question it but run with it. So the first idea that came to me was to make a pair of really comfortable pants. My aunt Lucy Pappano used to be a fashion designer years ago. I asked her for some lessons and she helped me turn my first drawing into reality. From there, I just started experimenting with different fabrics and just taught myself things as they came up.
dapperQ: How would you describe the SUNSUN aesthetic?
Sun Sun: It’s stylish, comfortable, cool, stands out, can be fancy, can be chill, custom, original.
Model Tee Fergus in SUNSUN
dapperQ: What inspires your designs?
Sun Sun: Chill style, Kente cloth, cool patterns, beautiful fabric, bright colours, water, androgynous style, good music, hip hop, and good people.
dapperQ: Tell us about the collection you featured at Queer Fashion Week?
Sun Sun: Queer Fashion Week was my first runway show. I wanted to show a wide variety of my work. I had some matching outfits, a poncho, and I used a variety of fabrics. I did a lot of Kente cloth mash ups, using bright colours with black and white patterns to break it up. I also used washable faux leather and stretch denim a lot as well. I chose LEIKELI47’s track “fuck the summer up” for the soundtrack. I feel like that track is the perfect soundtrack to my clothes.
dapperQ: Many of our readers have problems finding masculine clothes that fit them properly. How is SUNSUN addressing this issue?
Sun Sun: It’s kinda funny; my pants fit a lot of different body types wonderfully. I make my clothes custom and made-to-order, so I do my best to make them fit how the customer needs it.
dapperQ: How does SUNSUN stand out from some of the other queer clothing collections that have launched recently?
Sun Sun: My clothes and brand stand out by being a destination spot for those looking for one-of-a-kind, comfortable, unisex , custom design. SUNSUN is royal, personal, original clothing.
Model Tee Fergus in SUNSUN
dapperQ: How would you describe your personal everyday style?
Sun Sun: Chill, punk, hip-hop. I wear my own designs and other independent designers like Legends League.
dapperQ: Has it been a journey defining your own personal style?
Sun Sun: I think I’ve always had a variation of the same style. I mostly care about comfort and I’ve never been into labels. I love black and white with a splash of colour.
dapperQ: Who or what has most influenced your personal style?
Sun Sun: I think music has had the most influence on my personal style. I dj and I’m really into music. I’m into hip-hop, dancehall, afrobeat, local, dub, reggae, trap, soul, good music. That culture and style influence me. Also, It’s cool to daydream about awesome musicians rocking a custom SUNSUN outfit too. I’ve been lucky to have some musicians and cool artists in my clothes, like Shabazz Palaces, TheeSatisfaction (Sassyblack and Stas Thee Boss), Njena Reddd Foxxx, Machel Montano, Bahia Watson, bklyn boihood, and Dj Mursi Layne.
dapperQ: Who are your fashion icons?
Sun Sun: A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Popcaan, LEIKELI47, M.I.A., Missy Elliot, Joey Baddass, Art Comes First, L.atasha A.lcindor, Kanye West, OvO, LLSeason, Shabazz Palaces, Wiz Khalifa, TheeSatisfaction, SunRa, Kurt Cobain.
dapperQ: What is the one article of clothing you cannot live without?
Sun Sun: A hoodie.
dapperQ: What can we expect next from SUNSUN?
Sun Sun: Jumpsuits, a dress, more handmade printing on fabrics, tie-dye, hats, bandanas, shoes, shorts, suit jacket. I have a show coming up in Brooklyn mid-September in collaboration with bklyn boihood.