Recent surveys have revealed that younger generations, particularly Gen-Z, are rejecting gender binaries, which have not only historically been perpetuated in heterosexual communities, but also replicated in LGBTQ communities, (e.g., harmful butch/femme binaries, gay men believing that femininity is bad for the gay community, etc.). With the further dismantling of expected gendered behaviors and dress also comes a new freedom for people across the masculine-feminine spectrum from all gender identities, gender presentations, and sexual orientations to have more agency over how they define and express beauty.
Recently, the Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) LGBTQA Employee Resource Group (ERG) “wELCome” brought together designers, makeup artists and fashion show producers challenging the boundaries of non-binary beauty and fashion for a panel titled “Blurred Lines: Beauty on My Own Terms.” The panel explored how ELC can push the needle forward in breaking down restrictive binary fashion and beauty norms and open doors for each individual to feel beautiful no matter how they present.
The panel, held at the Bumble and Bumble Theater, addressed not only ELG employees, but also LGBTQA ERG’s members from companies including L’Oreal, Google, Merrill Lynch and Northwell Health. Panelists included Anita Dolce Vita from dapperQ; Laura Moffat from Kirrin Finch; Abby Sugar and Liz Leifer from Play Out Underwear; E. Jaguar Beckford from Jag & Co./Rainbow Fashion Week; and Marcelo Gutierrez, a makeup artist from Hello mr. magazine. The discussion was moderated by Ingrid Galvez, Business Management Strategist at Thorp and the Chair of D&I Outreach at NglccNY. Several other LGBTQA non-profits were represented in attendance, including a guest appearance from Rob Smith, Founder of The Phluid Project, a gender-free store which opened in NYC in March 2018. “Blurred Lines” emphasized that beauty and fashion are increasingly abandoning traditional binaries.
Anita Dolce Vita noted that Instagram has led to the democratization of beauty and fashion, serving as a platform to build communities of common value where people once rendered invisible by the industry can find inspiration and visibility without having to rely on corporate brands to dictate what is desirable. Marcelo Gutierrez added, “In a social media age, each and every one of you is a brand.”
An after party was held at the historic Stonewall Inn, and audience members had an opportunity to meet the panelists in person and feel their designs. Click here or tune in below to listen to a recording of the event.
*Note: Anita Dolce Vita came to the panel with a fever and flu, so it took a second to hit her usual stride. But here’s to queer Black femmes continuing to show up.