Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Tia, a gender fluid creative how is ruled Taurus sun and Gemini moon. By day, Tia works in financial services industry by day, and by night she hosts events and works on other creative projects.
dapperQ: Why is queer visibility important in fashion important? How do your platforms help create space for members of our community? How do they challenge mainstream fashion platforms?
Tia: When I consider queer visibility, really what comes to mind is shifting paradigms. It’s not so much about visibility to me as it is controlling the narrative. Folx can’t ignore our existence anymore, and the beautiful part about that is that so many queer folx have become empowered to live unapologetically in their truth.
I’d like to humbly think that my platforms are a medium for me to express the sacred embrace of self. I’m no longer searching for validation, I truly believe when we walk in our truths, share our reverence and gratitude for the folx who have paved the way, that we are not only creating space, but living with intention, and that is one of the most powerful tools we have as a community. Intention, endurance, and warmth breed resilience. And we are one resilient community.
As a queer plus size POC, I’d like to think I challenge mainstream fashion by existing in a light that doesn’t dim for what mainstream believes is acceptable and beautiful. The truth is, tides are changing, and queer culture has momentum because it’s honest, it’s vulnerable, and it’s sacred. Two spirit folx, gender identities, fashion, and culture date back to and are documented in indigenous communities.
Photo by @danyellowcurtis
dapperQ: How would you describe your personal style aesthetic? How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
Tia: My style aesthetic is definitely hard to put into any kind of box. I grew up playing basketball with my brothers who also dress well, and following the footsteps of my mom who embodies confidence and has always been a sharp dresser. I think as a result I have a strong taste for bold colors, layers, and flirting the line between street style and casual. I have an affinity for culture, and am definitely heavily influenced by latin, indigenous, and black culture.
dapperQ: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
Tia: I can’t say I have one particular fashion icon, as my idea of expression is constantly changing. I find that the people and styles I appreciate most often have the theme of confidence and unconventional fits. Some of my favorites at the moment range from icons like Prince and TLC, to social media influencers like TJ, (@renegades) and Jazzmyne @jazzmynejay.
dapperQ: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
Tia: [Laughs] That’s easily every time I attempt bathing suit shopping. The wildest part is that I grew up at the shore in Jersey, so one would think I’d have this down by now, but it’s most often a fail. As someone who leans toward masculine centered, bathing suits are the death of me. I have a large chest, so finding a way to channel my identity the way I’d like has been something I’ve gotten better at with age and being more comfortable with my body and how I present it. The bathing suit industry is problematic to me at the forefront, so it’s usually a fail. I don’t feel like I should have to put on a one piece to get away from hyper-femenine presenting bikini tops. And I also have larger legs, so finding men’s board shorts that fit me comfortably is also a thing. The queer bathing suit market is definitely wide open for someone to swoop in and save us all.
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?
Tia: Walk in your truth, whether it’s hard or easy, it is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and don’t seek validation from those who don’t understand you and don’t want to understand you. Love knows know boundaries, and one of the biggest boundaries we create is within ourselves. Knock that boundary down and the love we teach ourselves is multiplied tenfold and really a gift to others. And find a partner or person that encourages you to walk in your truth.
One of my favorite lyrics by some of my favorite musicians, Nahko and Medicine for the People, @nahko_and_mftp, is “I hope someone else, sees you, how I see you see me”. And for me, I hear those words and feel a surrender. It’s not about how someone sees you, the magic is in the appreciation for being seen, in whatever reflection of ourselves we may have, and that reflection of our truth and persona is so magnificent, that you can only hope that others can see themselves in their own light and love the reflection.
Photo by @danyellowcurtis
dapperQ: Tell us something unique about you!
Tia: I have a love for words and really finding meaning in them. I am a sucker for a good poem, or socially activated song whose lyrics take a few times to digest and understand. I also love to write and hope to incorporate more creative writing in what I do in the future.
dapperQ: What can we expect next from you?
Tia: My wife says I always have a ton of creative projects on top of my day job. Right now I am in the process of completing my CPA exam, launching a queer womxn centered nightlife in Asbury Park, and assisting my wife in growing her business @fiberandfiredecofiberandfiredeco.
Photo by @rachey2022
dapperQ: Where can our readers find you so they can stay connected!
Tia: Readers can find me at @revolu_tia, my main IG account, I’m pretty active on my story there. I also run BoiGxrlGang, @boigxrlgang, an intersectional fashion and mental wellness account that I use as a way of expression and really just controlling the narrative. Also, for readers that may be traveling or from the NJ/NY/PA areas, my business partner and I are bringing queer nightlife to Asbury Park, NJ, over at In HUE NJ, @inhuenj.