“I’m pro super queer, pro be who you are” – Austin Alegria on queer fashion as visual activism and his show REGAYLIA
On Sunday, June 11, 2023, queer designer Austin Alegria debut his latest swimwear collection at REGAYLIA. REGAYLIA, a play on the word regalia as a nod to “queer royalty,” was held at Bonham Exchange to sold out fashion show benefitting the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. It was a star studded evening with music by DJ Vinicio Rotelli, host drag performer Avery Andrews, who’s who of celebrity models including Desi Andrews, and front row appearances by high power leaders such as Council member Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, the first openly gay Black person ever to be elected to public office in Texas.
Alegria’s pulled from a variety of inspiration, particularly architecture. Prior to the show, Alegria shared, “My boyfriend is an architect and he gets inspired by buildings. So, some of the images that you’re going to see on the swimwear pieces are actually photos that we took of buildings that are printed on the fabric.”
Saige Thomas, producer of the show, founded Geisa Haus to help independent designers create fashion events that inspire, empower and tell the stories of the people behind the garments through innovative design. Part of that mission is casting models across the gender identity and presentation spectrums and to advance LGBTQ+ fashion diversity that is not performative.
Model Desi Andrews spoke about the power of queer visibility in fashion and pageantry. Andrews was awarded Mr. Continental 2020 and Mr. Gay USofA 2016. Hours before hitting the runway, Andrews emphasized the importance of attending pageants beyond watching RuPaul Drag’s Race from home. He stated, “If you love RuPaul, you’ll love a pageant,” reiterating the necessity of celebrating LGBTQ+ fashion and performers in this current political climate.