dapperQ recently wrapped up a week-long celebration of queer style during New York Fashion Week, starting with our fifth annual queer runway show (Dress Code) in partnership with Brooklyn Museum and sponsored by Into, followed by daily pop-up shops and a closing party at the Phluid Project.
In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be getting up close and personal with some of the featured runway designers and brands, starting with and interview with JagandCo.
Tell us a bit about your brand.
There is simply no other brand like JagandCo. We don’t just sell clothes, we sell a lifestyle to our customers. Many folks who dress outside the binary have unique shopping experience and fit needs that require customized attention. So, we don’t just tape measure their solution away. We sit and consult with them about building a wardrobe one garment at a time, including thrift store shopping and how to acquire accessories that will enhance their wardrobe, as well as taking snapshots of potential looks and styles and assisting clients with putting together complete looks. Further, JagandCo recognizes and supports diverse communities that most store owners do not consider a viable market. They are dead wrong in their approach, as queer style one of the fastest growing markets within the industry. That is why we create a safe space to shop and consult right here in our Brooklyn brownstone location. It feels like home. So we welcome you!
Talk a bit about the collection you showcased on the runway and what inspired your collection.
This years’ collection we are most excited about. We have finally perfected and executed a fabulously tailored and well constructed suit called the 4-3-2-1(tm). The 4-3-2-1 is a suit jacket, vest with a beautifully adorned back, a short knee cuffed trouser, and long slim trouser. This suit is designed to take you from “Formal to Business to Casual to Play.” By interchanging the pieces you can maximize the utility of this suit in a plethora of ways. Add to this suit ensemble a beautifully constructed silk suspender and 2 pattern “JaggerKnot(tm) neck ware, well, you will definitely be the “talk of the town.”
How many years have you been a featured designer in dapperQ’s runway shows?
We have participated in four dapperQ shows, beginning with the Whitney Day collaboration and each year it gets better.
What was your process and experience like this year, starting from fittings to the runway?
I don’t do fittings generally. I actually hate fittings. Fortunately I am also a stylist, so I know body types very well and well, I can definitely say that my process is about 98% full proof. The people that were fitted were added to the show late, so I just needed to be sure I had something to work with to allow them to participate. So, for example Milly, was added to our line up after reaching out to us on social media explaining that a designer dropped out of the show due to health reasons. We wanted to accommodate her since family and friends had already purchased tickets. That’s how we are as a family. I have actually been there to support Anita like this in past shows where I actually took my personal JagandCo outfit off my back to allow a model that had flown in from out of Seattle or somewhere across the country to walk in the very first dapperQ show. I actually sat in my boxers while that model enjoyed the opportunity to walk and sport her look on the runway wearing JagandCo.
How did you go about selecting a theme and music?
My biz partner Cheryl Lathan (a/k/a Shaydee) takes care of that and other things. She always says, “So what music did you select?”, knowing damn well I have not selected anything. That is actually the last thing on my mind, so she always sends the dopest tracks.
What was the day of the show like?
The day was very exhaustive. I also cast “JagandCo Marketplace PrettyBoiCouture Models.” This is JagandCo, giving models an different opportunity to be present at the dapperQ show even off of the runway. I’ve had PrettyBoiCouture Models attend the dapperQ show since there very first one. We are always a hit. But most importantly, this allows them to be visible on the floor giving the customer and guests a first hand, 360 viewing of our JagandCo products. we also brought apple boxes so that they could rotate as a “live model installation.”
In addition we brought our own pop-up dressing room. Our perspective customers were elated that we took the time to think through their needs before purchasing major products, such as pants. There’s no, “Oh wait, let me run your pants to the bathroom and see if they fit.” Instead we say, “Nope, go right over here [into the pop-up dressing room].” Our girl Tammy held down the table, managing and rotating the models, sending them out with biz cards, giveaways. You name it, she was right on point and we could not have done that without her and all our PrettyBoiCouture Models.
Shaydee and I were so busy managing the models in make-up, Behind the scenes photos, hygiene matters, hair; we were very happy to have attended the hair installation at Bumble and Bumble thanks to Ann Bradstreet who also modeled for JagandCo. The installation taught us so much about how to prepare looks, how to articulate our needs and the watch the execution of the look. So, it was a no brainer day of for those hairstylist to accomplish what we needed. However, we had several models with natural hair, curls, Afro’s etc., and, well, that experience was more challenging, because we straightened the hair of some models to be a very uniformed look, with the exception of one model whose hair we wanted to make a statement and indeed she did when she frizzled her hair in front of the cameras and the audience went wild, so these looks were accomplished by Tanya Tomlinson a/k/a BCosmo and AKeesha the Hair Diva who of course slayyyed my hair. I was very pleased Keesha is our new hairstylist for JagandCo.
As for make-up, we have the best in Anthony Jones who has been by my side since day one. He’s done high end glam our make-up, so we don’t have to do ANY testing, nor do I have to spy on him while he’s working. Finally, I was getting my hair done at 7:30,pm, so although my Shaydee was setting up to shoot the show, she was backstage getting everyone dressed and runway ready. So I must say we both had our hands full. Finally, Shaydee styled all the models backstage before running front of house in photographers pit. So that’s what our day was like.
What was it like seeing your designs on the runway?
Shadyee, myself and the entire team were just elated. Everyone was smiling and taking selfies. To be quite honest it is an exhilarating experience, though I feel our experience never seems to equate with that of audience members. This year, I shared my stage with a very talented designer and curator Nyeta Allen of “Happy Couture.” I sent a courier down to Philly to hand deliver left over pieces of my fabrics. Well when her ride fell through bringing her up to the show. Believe it or not she took a freaking UBER, got there and was sewing up, whipping up behind the scene and presented those amazing dresses that hit the runway,
What does it mean for your brand to be a part of this annual show?
It has meant great exposure for brand recognition and validation by the fashion community at large. NBC Out took the time to interview us backstage asking us what a show such as dapperQ meant, and why this type of show was so important. I basically said that this type of show creates a demand for all of what we represent as an LGBT+ community and as a designer.