Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Leah McFly, aka LeahV, a talented and amazingly stylish producer and DJ who will be one of two featured DJs at the official after party for the New York Fashion Week event that dapperQ is producing!
Leah McFly, aka LeahV, is a Boston and NYC-based producer and DJ, with over 17 years mastering her craft. LeahV is one of the most well-rounded and sought after selectors in both the mainstream and LGBTQ scenes. Her ability to execute sets of almost any genre, read the crowd, and mix near flawlessly has earned her the rep of being “The people’s DJ.”
LeahV on Style:
I’m really into mixing casual attire and leisure wear. I’ll throw on an old basketball jersey under an unbuttoned Oxford shirt from Topman or H&M, a pair of shorts (let’s be real, I get almost all my clothes from H&M) and some suede shoes from Aldo or Cole Haan. I’m also really into what I refer to as “power clashing,” having fun with mixing patterns. I love hats: ALL THE HATS. I used to wear pajama pants to high school, so clearly I’ve come a long way.
dapperQ: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
LeahV: Whoever Justin Timberlake’s stylist is…because DAMN. And Charlotte Gupp, my thunder buddy, because we shared a closet without killing each other, and we are each others fashion advisors.
dapperQ: How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
LeahV: 100%. I’ve never really dressed differently than I do now. Even when I was a kid, I’d always try wearing my brother’s clothes because I felt like they suited me more. I always had one fresh pair of kicks, a ton of hats and collared shirts (buttoned to the top, obvs) The only time I went off the deep end is right before, and right after, coming out. I went from being oddly girly, emphasis on odd: like I had makeup but never used it, nor do I know how, then directly to baby dyke cargo short ridiculousness, then finally back to just settling into who I always was under the confusion, and being comfortable with that again. My queer identity helped me find my style and love it.
dapperQ: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community?
LeahV: Queer visibility is important, because we’re here. Quite simply. By being visible, I think it’s helping this generation and generations to come be comfortable with who they are, teaching people through blogs like dapperQ that there are many like minded queers that want to look good, as well as feel good, and not have to deal with conforming to any societal standards of what your personal “style” should be. It’s liberating to wear what makes you feel good, for anyone. We’re seeing so many amazing queer-owned fashion houses pop up, and this visibility creates opportunities for designers who maybe felt confined to one idea of fashion. Having people who understand you, and support you – that’s community and it’s vital to queer life.
dapperQ: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
LeahV: That time I left the house with no pants on…and walked half a block before I noticed. I might have been hungover. Who’s to say?
dapperQ: What advice would you give our readership? What advice can you offer to people who fit outside of society’s understanding of traditionally masculine and feminine styles?
LeahV: You can’t worry about what anyone thinks; you just can’t. Let that go; wear exactly what you want to wear, whether it’s a tailored suit, or a basketball uniform paired with a top hat and a pink faux fur clutch to go with your orange fashion crocs. Wear what you want to wear. Fuck social standards; life’s too short for anyone to be policing people’s style. And shame on any queer who rips on another queer’s style choices!!!
dapperQ: Tell us something unique about you.
LeahV: I DJ without headphones 95% of the time. I’m right handed, but I can write backwards, in cursive, perfectly, with my left hand. I can also name that tune in less then 4 notes. Holler.
dapperQ: How did you hear about dapperQ? Why were you interested in a feature?
LeahV: I mean, All the cool kids know about dapperQ, and I wanna be cool too. But seriously, it’s fantastic to let people see the many sides of queer fashion, and I’m honored to have been asked to do this!
dapperQ: So, you’ll be spinning the after party for the largest queer fashion show during New York Fashion Week produced by Hot Rabbit. Sounds like an exciting gig.
I’ve been making regular appearances at Hot Rabbit since it started at Nowhere Bar five years ago. I found out about it through some other DJ pals of mine, and it looked super cute so I had to try and at there! Emily [Hot Rabbit owner/producer] has been an amazing colleague and friend to me ever since, I’m always in awe of hard she’s worked to create these spaces for queer nightlife to thrive, not just simply “exist.” I had the pleasure of putting my friends on to this jawn and to watch it grow into the rabid party beast it is today. One of my best friends, Charlotte Gupp, now co-promotes and helps to run Hot Rabbit events and I’m excited to move back to NYC this fall to further participate and help grow these spaces for the queer masses and beyond, including the New York Fashion Week after party produced by Hot Rabbit in collaboration with dapperQ.
dapperQ: How can our readers stay connected with you?
Photo credits: The amazing Lara Callahan (Brooklyn, NY)