Welcome back to Hi Femme!, dapperQ’s sibling visibility project celebrating the incredible contributions that stylish femmes make to the queer fashion landscape. For this edition, we’re featuring, Chaka aka The Defiant Femme, a queer defiant opinionated femme, of Sudanese-German heritage, originally from Berlin but relocated to her home-of-choice London. (She says, “Yes, that’s why I have a funny accent.”) Researcher for UK’s leading LGBT rights organisation during the day, Chaka tries to navigate herself through life the rest of the time with the help of blogging, dancing, debating or simply sipping a glass of wine somewhere. Chaka also just launched a new series on her YouTube channel where she features each week an amazing fellow Femme – which is a lot of fun but also keeps her very occupied lately.
Hi Femme!: Can you talk a bit about how you define queer femme style and what makes it transgressive?
Chaka: Identifying as Femme is for me a subversive and radical act. It is an entirely conscious act in which I reclaim my femininity, away from the heteronormative gaze and toxic misogyny. It is a way to resist stereotypical narratives. I am not Femme because of hegemonic society, I am Femme despite it. I used to be quite a Tomboy and I think in a lot of ways I still am, but when I came out as queer, Femme gave me the opportunity to embrace all that delicious femininity that I was holding inside me. Femme is so fluid and in its fluidity it is powerful. A way to create counterspaces were we celebrate all forms of feminine presentations. For my own style, it means to play with imaginations of hyper femininity, parodying, embracing, reclaiming and deconstructing them. For the next Femme it can mean something completely different – that is the beauty of it.
Hi Femme!: How would you describe your personal style?
Chaka: This is tricky. I think my style is ever evolving and I think that I am slowly approaching the imagery that I would like to embody. I guess it is undeniable somewhere along the lines of vintage glam, dapper eccentricity and a hint of kinky femininity.
Hi Femme!: Who are your fashion icon(s)?
Chaka: Oh, I think I don’t really have one or maybe too many to name. I find inspiration everywhere – I know what a platitude, but it is true. From drag artists, over the old-school divas to the dapper 100 list on here, there are so many people that give me ideas to progress my style. I simply love people that put thought into their style, make it political and subversive, the more eccentric the better.
Hi Femme!: What item in your style arsenal can you not live without?
Chaka: I am semi-addicted to nail polish, but I do understand that is a fairly unsatisfying answer. I love my jewelry, most of which are from Mama, Papa or from my late grandmother. There is just something special and powerful to them.