Fashion

  • iii

    iii

    iii is a Brooklyn-based independent clothing designer who currently is developing gender neutral wear and is self-diagnosing vagina envy


    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you now? Where are you going?
    iii: I’m from my own Silk Road with Manila and Queens, New York as poles of the route. I moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn around four years ago and at present call it home. I’m always in a transitional state of body and mind, so a destination may not even exist.


    S: What is your aesthetic and what is gender neutral wear?
    iii: I make clothes to appease a lot of my anxieties resulting in an aesthetic that is nervous, confrontational, and flawed.
    I’m also going through my second adolescence. As I reconstruct my own sense of gender identity, I find myself breaking down concepts of clothing that are gendered and historicized. Associating garments with roles, genders, and markets dictated by practice creates a fashion culture that is self-conscious, and not self-aware. And I want no part of this repressive conformity.
    The goal is ambitious: to detach notions of gender in clothing. Dresses and skirts are just dresses and skirts. They are no longer labeled as womenswear or feminine clothing available for men. Now the process can be confusing. So what happens to gender guidelines in construction? I resolve to mirror the method to the goal. Closure orientation and techniques–in particular, cuts, darts, and tucks are just design variables and not gender markers. For example, if a heterosexual transgender man decides to wear a bust darted halter-top and pants that close right to left with no regard to his intention, then the goal is fundamentally fulfilled. It’s fashion. It’s not about cross-dressing or gender fucking–because seriously a boy in a dress? Groundbreaking.
    The term unisex also is problematic. It’s constricting and it supports the binary system. I’m not into that. The premise of gender neutral is to honor all points of the spectrum. The promise of reinventing fashion is to realize clothing and style as in between, never puristic.


    S: You’re currently working on a spring/summer concept collection to be released this fall, can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
    iii: I’m in a state of undress–shedding familiar forms for the foreign as I transition. I’m more comfortable in the nude now because clothing doesn’t seem to relate to my body as it used to. I’m also questioning a lot of my internalized gender expression on a daily basis, only to see myself in a grueling process of deconstruction. I take my clothes off and put them back on redesigned, repurposed, and recontextualized. I’m taking patterns apart, cutting pieces off, and displacing. I’m attaching pieces together and layering garments in varied, irregular ways. Easily there is an overall incongruous quality to the clothing, somewhat surrealist, but inevitably impressionistic of my intimate concerns.


     S: Has fashion always been something that was close to you?
    iii: Totally. I always was interested in what people around me wore. I have vivid memories as a child where I’d stare at people on the street, on TV, and in photographs for their sartorial choices. I still do it up to this day. It’s become an integral part of my design process.
    S: As a trans woman, what are the misconceptions that surround your identity?
    iii: I’ve had a lot of encounters with people whom had me thrown by their thoughtless and bigoted remarks about my gender identity–comments that pose serious threats to the trans community at large. These are sensitive and complicated topics but I speak of my trans experience in my perspective and of what I recall from unfriendly exchanges.
    My trans-ness is unique to myself and there persists a diversity of trans narratives that needs to be sought out to further understand the enduringly evolving identity. It’s also safe to assume that there are intersections among trans perspectives.


    Now what are these misconceptions that surround my trans identity? My trans experience and presumably the trans experience in general do not revolve around pretending to be a man or a woman–deceiving the public. “You’re pretty good at what you’re doing, you fooled me,” snootily said by a heterosexual cisgender man to me once. Backhanded compliments such as that are insulting and they perpetuate inaccurate views of the community.
    The “born in the wrong body” narrative is also not the truth for every trans person. It certainly isn’t the truth for me. To generalize trans experiences of body dysphoria as all the same is to undermine the complexities of individual identities. In some cases, dysphoric backgrounds do not even exist. It only goes to show that sex and the body don’t necessarily relate to one’s sense of gender.
    “If you’re a trans woman, then why do you wear boy clothes?” “I respect your decision to transition, but you’re still not a woman until you have had surgery.” “You must idolize Caitlyn Jenner, she’s already there.” Full disclosure: One’s gender expression doesn’t always agree with one’s gender identity, more so it doesn’t have to. The way I appear does not determine my sense of gender. There is not a checklist or a set of rules that endorse what it means to be trans. I don’t need to wear a bra, grow my hair long, wear makeup, or undergo sex reassignment surgery to identify as female but I can if I want to. The thing is, while media visibility, thanks to big names like Caitlyn whom I adore, is crucial to the community, it can be problematic too especially when representation is lacking. It presents limited ideas of how it is to be transgender and reduces the experience to a sensationalized image that in time can become the norm. Ultimately, me being trans is not about how I present myself, what I have achieved, and where I’m going.


    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today’s youth culture, and what are you doing to change that?
    iii: Don’t be basic. But if you’re going to be basic, commit to it and be basic to the highest degree that you subversively become non-basic. Try not to play it safe. It’s not enough to have an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed or to be a passable woman in daytime–you’ve got to be more than that. You’ve got to change the way people think and see things. You’ve got to have an agenda. To be fair a lot of my friends are already doing it and essentially I’m saying all of this to remind myself as well, that we always have to challenge the values of the stifling status quo. We don’t have to follow what has preceded our time. We can make it up along the way.

    Follow iii on instagram @vagina.envy and grab a copy of "Psyche" here!

    Photography by Giles Pates. Clothing by iii.

  • GODDESS

    GODDESS

    David Siferd is the designer and founder of GODDESS. Previously studying fashion design at Kent State University and the Paris-American Academy in France, he completed an internship with Gerlan Jeans and has done technical and graphic design for Wales Bonner. He founded GODDESS in late 2012 and seeks to dissect and transform traditional notions of sex and gender through his work. 


    Sedate: Why did you start a line like GODDESS, and where did the name come from?
    David: I started GODDESS while finishing my degree in fashion design, in late 2012. At the time, there weren't many labels doing agender fashion, and I was frustrated by the options available while shopping, so I wanted to create a label that anyone could wear regardless of their gender or identity. The name GODDESS is significant to me because I love the concept of being empowered through femininity. A GODDESS is a strong, unique individual who is true to themselves regardless of society's pressures.



    S: Do you find acceptance of GODDESS in the fashion industry more challenging due to its nature of being among very few brands that transform traditional gender roles? Or has it been the complete opposite, if so why?
    D: I would say the opposite is true! The overwhelming response to my label has been really positive, and I've had success selling my designs with VFILES and at GR8 in Tokyo as well as various other shops in NYC. My customer really likes to shop pieces that aren't so strictly traditionally gendered, and people in the industry are starting to see the value in this. From the creative side of the industry people have been interested in my work as well- lots of photographers and stylists right now are exploring fashion for gender nonconforming people and are interested in shooting pieces from GODDESS.



    S: A lot of the color pallets you use are very soft but contrasted with a darker color (usually black). Is there anything about the choice of colors that has helped you make GODDESS for anyone? Who is your muse?
    D: I personally love color- looking at it, wearing it, working with it, so it's something that I see as essential to my designs. Black is a classic color that is easy to wear for anyone and looks cool, so I find it appealing in a creative sense as well as making sense commercially. The contrast interests me- I like to place pops of color and print next to more sedate but interesting designs. I definitely want to make clothes that people can wear, so I am always trying to keep in mind what is a realistic garment for my customer!
    As for my muses- there are so many! I love anyone who is unique and true to themselves with an interesting fashion style. Every season I try to find interesting people to keep in mind while designing- for Spring 2016, I was interested in feminine, luxurious men like Austin Scarlett, Igor Dewe and Aymeric Bergada du Cadet. I was also interested in figure skaters, especially Johnny Weir and Yuzuru Hanyu- their athleticism juxtaposed with their glamorous outfits and beautiful music is really exciting to me. Muses from past seasons have ranged from Michael Jackson to the character Dot from Mad TV- I'm all about big personalities.



    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth, and have you done anything to combat that?
    D: I think overall, today's youth is really great! I see a lot of positive changes in my generation- it seems like a lot of young people are doing their best to be better, more accepting and understanding people which is great. I can't say there's anything I would want to change- I'm optimistic for the future and see us headed toward a friendlier tomorrow.



    S: What is next for GODDESS? Any collaborations or exciting things happening that you would like to share?
    D: There are so many plans in the works for GODDESS! I can't share specifics, but I have collaboration with an artist coming out before long, followed by my fall 2016 collection early next year. My customers and the readers of Sedate Zine will have lots of GODDESS to look forward to before the year is up and in to 2016. :)



    Check out more from GODDESS here!
  • SS16

    SS16

    By: Bryan Villalobos 

    Spring Summer 16 was my first fashion week; I was extremely excited and very grateful for the opportunity. As excited as I was I couldn’t help but notice a huge issue that truly upset me. The lack of color on the runway was very disappointing and I think you know I’m not talking about the garments.

    Since I can remember I’ve always admired fashion and everything it has to offer. In the recent years, I’ve realized the reality in the lack of representation people of color have.  When I see a runway or a presentation that is predominantly white what I see and what I feel is that my skin type does not fit into this world. The typical response you get from people who don’t like to talk about racial issues is “I mean, it’s just not the designers aesthetic.” or  “All you see is color.” or “I don’t think it was their intention to cast mostly white people.”  These are all valid observations, however, the issue here is internalized racism. A lot of people don’t even realize they’re being racist or that racism has truly affected their psyche.

    Although I was only able to go to a limited amount of shows, the power of social media really helps when you can’t do it all. I was also able to work some shows during fashion week, it really gave me the ins and outs of the industry. A lot of the brands (Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Public School, etc.) I saw and worked with have designers who are people of color. I was really upset to see that some of their shows were cast with a lot more white models and a handful of darker skinned models.

    (Prabal Gurung)

    I was happy to see that newer designers (Telfar, Vejas, Ytinifinfinity, Rowan, GoGo Graham) are very aware of the lack of representation and are trying to change the norm within the fashion industry. I’m finally starting to feel like I belong to this world that didn’t think my features and skin were beautiful.

    It’s not that I need validation from white people about how I feel about myself. What I want is for every kid growing up exposed to all sorts of media to feel like they belong, to feel like they are represented. Representation can do wonders for a child’s self-esteem; it can help give them the courage needed to succeed especially in industries as vicious as fashion.  

    (Backstage at Telfar)

    Imagine growing up watching TV or reading magazines and seeing the people on the screen or on covers, all you see is a thin haired blue-eyed person or a dark-haired person with the palest skin and the greenest eyes. You know these people are considered the most beautiful and everyone wants to look like them. Imagine looking in the mirror and realizing that you don’t and will never look like that. It may not be word-for-word but when you see that and then take a look at yourself you feel ugly you feel worthless you feel unwanted. No one should have to go through that.

    For many years, I would do things that I thought would make me look and seem white. I only surrounded myself with white people; I would purposely avoid befriending people of my same race. I would straighten my hair and wear clothing targeted towards white teenagers. I wanted to be white so bad, so bad that I was typically embarrassed by my low-income family that had to go to second-hand stores to buy clothing and furniture. Embarrassed by the fact that my single mother lived paycheck to paycheck and still somehow managed to give my siblings and I a lifestyle where we really didn’t have to worry about much.  

    Only in the recent years have I come to accept my ethnicity, my body, my skin, and my features. I’ve become more aware of the importance of representation. I was sick of only being befriended by white people because they found me exotic or interesting based only on my features and ethnicity. I am excited to see that a lot more new designers are also becoming aware and are taking a stand to change the ideals of beauty in an industry that dictates beauty standards.  Only good things can come from it although it undoubtedly will take some time for people to recognize that there is beauty outside what we are told is beautiful.


    (Alexander Wang)

  • Nick Marchese

    Nick Marchese

    Nick Marchese is an art director from Chicago, IL, exploring vibrational textures, themes of connectedness, and social anarchism. Utilizing found objects and images has become Nick’s professional obsession, manifested in collage artwork, music videos, renewal fashion, and constructed visual environments. Along with numerous collaborators, Nick is directing a new cult of rebellion branded as Entropy Threads, a renewal fashion project against corporatism and mass-manufacturing.


    Sedate: Tell us a bit about Entropy Threads.
    
    
    Nick Marchese: Entropy started a few years ago when I moved to the city. I got into DIY fashion and started reconstructing thrift store clothing to be more modern and edgy. At first, the whole thing was just me expressing my style, but it evolved into a protest of fast-fashion. I was redesigning and sewing the clothes by myself, until I met a few people that did similar work. Shamis McGillin, of StudioXUltra, was one of the first to start collaborating with me, and later came a handful of others - Pat Conroy, Alison Bauer, Mata Bond and Eric Kreienbrink.



    Since we officially launched last July, we’ve put out three collections, two lookbooks, something like 8,000 stickers, and most recently a free magazine. The whole idea of Entropy is that everything is changing - literally falling apart. So we take that basic principle and apply it to any sort of creative stuff we do

    S: You also put together a zine called DEFECTOR, can you tell us a little bit about it, and its relevance to your brand?
    
    
    NM: Well, for a while we we’re trying to figure out how to spread a bigger message, something a bit more aggressive than the clothing. We also wanted the message to be free and open to the public, so we decided to produce a zine. The zine covers a broad spectrum of protest, highlighting different areas of corruption or oppression in the world, and how each story is related to a biggerpicture. There are small pockets of activism all over, and we want to start connecting the dots to help push for revolution as a whole. The content is mostly submissions from artists around Chicago, as well as international artists via Tumblr. We had over 300 copies printed and distributed them around Chicago last month. All the print copies are gone, but you can download a pdf versionon the website. As far as Entropy, DEFECTOR does a really good job outlining a bit of our philosophy and general mood towards society. 


    
    
    S: It seems like your audience is one that provokes change. Do you find it difficult to get your message across and in the hands of the right people?
    
    
    NM: (ha-ha yeaa) It’s really hard to get people to talk about change. It’s considered “impolite” to talk about world issues in public, and I think many people are just afraid to approach it - change makes them uncomfortable.. I had that problem when I was handing out Defector. I was offering a FREE protest zine, trying to make the world a better place, and some people refused the zine and acted like I was soliciting them for drugs or something. But it’s specifically those people who I’m trying to reach.. So yeah, sometimes it feels like a pointless fight. But these days, world revolution is the only thing worth fighting for.
    
    
    S: What would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
    
    
    NM: MORE REBELLION. Our youth needs to realize that the rules need to be broken if anything is going to get fixed. The system is failing and we face collapse unless our youth can turn things around. The future belongs to the YOUTH, and it’s time we take back control of it. I’d like to see the youth start acting less like individuals and more like a collective, working together for the same goals.




    S: As a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago, what is next for Entropy Threads, and your own artistic endeavors?
    
    
    NM: Entropy is going under some really big changes, but not before an indefinite hiatus. I have a one-way ticket to Seoul, South Korea, and I’m going nomad around Southeast Asia for a while. My art will undoubtedly transform again, as I won’t have access to my normal tools, but I’ll never stop creating. Eventually, I plan on returning to the states to continue a creative career fighting capitalism.

    Follow on instagram @markrazy @entropythreads
    
    
    Check out Nick's work here, and Entropy Threads here.
    Photos by Alex McLane.
  • Terri Dieu

    Terri Dieu

    GIRLS BLUE is a trace of not presence, but an empty simulation of it.


    Sedate: You recently graduated from Parsons and designed a collection for your senior thesis. Can you tell us about your inspiration for this collection and the process that goes into creating a collection?
    Terri: My collection, GIRLS BLUE, began as a response to repression as both a coping mechanism and obscurant. It upset me how something so intangible as a memory could so easily fade in and out of my life by appropriating itself whenever and however it chooses to. My collection became more or less how to make sense and create from the intangible/lack of.
    I began my collection with rope from a hardware store. The pieces that involve rope were all of a single cut, hand sewn to shapes that felt intuitive to my hands. A heat gun was used to melt synthetic fabric over the hand-sewn shapes and the weavings were made from clotheslines and scraps from other parts of my collection.

    My third look is an intentionally crinkled piece, designed by cutting three shapes all in accordance to the other. The layers are connected at three varying points and function as a single piece.
    The final look is a linen and gauze linen dress held together by drawstrings. The back and the front are interchangeable. Drawstrings give the wearer full agency of their own silhouette.
    There is no true logic to anything I make. I tend to forget technicalities when making, and work straight from my hands.

    S: When did you know you wanted to become a designer? 
    T: It sort of just happened. First out of boredom and then out of necessity.
    I grew up in Los Angeles, California and was fortunate to live within distance to a nonprofit art center. The Armory Center for the Arts offered free studio classes to the youth of the community. My aunt would re-register me to the same photography and painting classes each time one ended. I spent Saturdays at the Armory and met my best friend in their darkroom. Before I moved to New York, I moved around a lot between relatives and cities. The center, by default, became my one true stability as art became a necessary source of comfort.
    I was later encouraged by my art teacher to submit my work to a summer program at Otis College of Art and Design. I received a scholarship for their program and chose Fashion Design as a focus, because I had the least experience with it. The professors at Otis encouraged me to pursue Fashion Design and I did so—at first as an out and then it became something more.

    S: Aside from fashion, you're also a photographer. What do you usually look for when you shoot?
    Hmm… For the most part, I don’t really consider myself a photographer on the basis of intention.
    When I photograph, it isn’t necessarily to create an image—but to capture one that already exists. I shoot the same way I record voice memos, take notes and press flowers—I want to remember as closely as possible how I felt in that precise moment, however happy, sad, in love or heartbroken I was. I want to remember all of it—especially if it hurts.


    S: As an Asian American woman, what are some of the struggles you've faced living in a predominantly white society?
    This question is a bit difficult for me to answer.
    I spoke to a friend last night about this question and we both expressed a shared desire to be seen as ‘blank slates.’ If society stopped categorizing individuals by their “otherness” and supported them for what they are capable of making, there would be less hearts broken.
    Although I sense my own “otherness” from living in a predominantly white society, I am also aware that my own struggles do not compare to those that experience oppression on a more imminent level—but at the same time, I do find myself marginalized by what others project onto me because of my race.
    By categorizing work by “otherness,” it negates artist intent.

    S: What would you like to see change in today’s youth?
    T: Empathy.
    S: What’s up next for Terri?
    T: ;)

    View the rest of GIRL BLUE, and more of Terri's work here.
    Lookbook photos by Brett Davis.
  • Nicole Walker

    Nicole Walker

    Freelance Fashion Stylist based in Stockholm. 


    Sedate: Your aesthetic and style seem to be minimal but still very edgy which really drew us to you. Can you tell us what inspires you and your creative process? 

    Nicole Walker: My biggest inspirations always come from getting obsessed with something specific. It can start with seeing one picture, meeting a unique person or just reading a poem. I then get obsessed with researching the topic and finding out everything there is to know about it. Lately for example, I have been obsessed with Helmut Lang 90's collections and have been spending all day on ebay trying to find some amazing stuff! In my future editorials you will probably see a lot of Lang references.



    S: Some of your work seems very ambiguous almost genderless, is gender neutrality something key in your work?

    NW: Yes, definitely! Thats something I work with a lot. The person I picture in my head when I get my ideas is always without gender. Gender boundaries is the most boring thing I know, I hate stupid ass people who think that there is a difference between being a male or female. Equality between genders is the most given thing. Also I just love wearing mens clothing even though I'm a super feminine person.

    S: You styled a video for Say Lou Lou's Better in the Dark, what was it like working with musicians who are well known for their personal style?

    NW: The Say Lou Lou girls are the greatest they have SO much energy and just want to make the best out everything and most of all have fun while doing it. They are known for their 70's inspired style but I just did a shoot the other week with them where we dressed them up to look like me, that was super fun! Artists over all can be quite hard to work with because they have so many people around them telling them how to or how not to look. For example record label dicks and so on, but the Say Lou Lou girls just do whatever they want and thats what makes them fun to work with.



    S: Some of the pieces you use are very unique, do you also design clothing?

    NW: I'm an educated womens tailor from the beginning, then I designed a few collections but soon figured out that I just enjoy the part of taking pictures of the collection. I didn't enjoy the whole design process, it's SO much work and then in the end you have to make clothes that people want to buy. When I style I can create any fantasy and I don't have to please people with commercial needs. I still do some custom made clothing for shoots and for artists. That is still super fun!

    S: What do you want to see change in today's youth culture?

    NW: I just want people to stop the massive copy catting!! Nowadays too many young people think it is alright to just find one reference and reference it over and over again. Young people now days don't seem to have any shame in that. Which to me seems so weird, instead they need to find their own way and stop looking at everybody else's instagram account and focus on doing some interesting stuff that matters!



    S: Should we expect new and exciting projects from Nicole Walker?

    NW: Of course! I have only just started, you will see A LOT more of me and my work in the near future!

    More of Nicole's work
  • Shelby Steiner

    Shelby Steiner

    Shelby Steiner is a contemporary womenswear label designed for mindful and forward thinking individuals. The line is inspired by a conglomeration of curated places, things, sounds, and experiences. The result? A product of meditation: clean, wearable, and somewhat of a casual lived-in luxury. Each garment is created ethically in America with natural fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, and bamboo.


    Sedate: When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
    Shelby Steiner: A very young age. I always loved spending time alone as a child and creating where my imagination could be infinite. I am still this way. I am very much a homebody.
    S: You're clothes seem to be very ambiguous therefore genderless, what is the constant inspiration in every collection?
    Steiner: I would say the main constant with each collection is the practicality of a garment and how it fits into a daily routine. Blending function and form is a recurring thought, I suppose the result, in my own interpretation, is my collection itself.



    S: What do you want to see change in today's youth culture?
    Steiner: Confidence. I think it's very important to feel comfortable in his or her own skin and to truly accept self as is-- imperfections and all. Pop culture makes it very easy to blend aesthetically in by following trends despite what one may be feeling inside. I hope more people begin to ignore and think for themselves while eliminating judgement. Everyone is at a different stage, we have to remember that.
    S: Is there a message you want to bring to our generation through your work?
    Steiner: I am still pinpointing that. Currently, I would say persistence and acceptance.


    S: Who and/or what keeps you motivated?
    Steiner: Progress keeps me motivated-- as well as little victories each day. I think of Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, and the Buddha often. Meditation and quietness also keep me going.
    
    
    
    Photos: Bryan Whitley