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VERGE: Challenging Gender Norms One Design at a Time 

. Mellina White-Cusack

The stud models of designer Jag & Co.

The stud models of designer Jag & Co. 

 

The team at TomboyX made their way east for one of the largest fashion events in the world: New York Fashion Week. When reflecting on elite fashion events of the past, the vision of model monoculture comes to mind: a legion of almost identical figures walking in unison, ignoring the vast world outside the runway walls. This has resulted in an outcry for more body diversity- people of color and models who confront gender norms head on. 

VERGE was the answer. 

 

 Models both back and on the main stage at VERGE

Models both back and on the main stage at VERGE

 

Brought to us by DapperQ, bklyn boihood, Posture Magazine, and D.Y.D.H. Productions, VERGE was the largest and most inclusive queer show at NYFW. It was an evening of trans, queer, and gender non-conforming models; people of all sizes and cultural backgrounds challenging what fashion looks like. The result was an extravaganza of interesting, fierce and unique models, many who were actually exclusive to this runway. 

 

Models Rain Dove (left) and Merika Palmiste

Models Rain Dove (left) and Merika Palmiste 

  

The back-drop was the breathtaking Beaux-Arts Court in the historic Brooklyn Museum. When we arrived in the early afternoon, the museum was buzzing with more than 80 models chatting and snacking, practically giddy with excitement as the final details were put together. We arrived to meet with two models making headlines for all the right reasons: Rain Dove and Merika Palmiste. We partnered with them for a TomboyX briefs photo shoot, but accomplished so much more in the process. Rain is a self described “model, actor, and activist breaking binary laws & being simply... A human.” Merika, stunning at 6’3” with piercing blue eyes, proved to be a perfect match for Rain during the shoot. Both models were kind and approachable, with a sweet sense of humor. They brought life to the backstage area and everyone around. It was as if we all knew something very special was happening; we were all contributing, if just a little, to breaking down walls and busting open doors for a movement just about to reach it’s tipping point. The entire affair felt less like a formal photo shoot and more like old friends hanging out. We met an incredible group of up-and-coming models backstage, each person bringing more class to the show.   

 

Rain Dove on the runway for KQK

Rain Dove on the runway for KQK

  

Later, on the Main Stage, more than 80 models strutted their way through Beaux-Arts Court, dressed by eight queer designers: NotEqual, KQK, sunsun, Jag & Co., SAGA by Sandra Gagalo, LACTIC, Fony, and MARKANTOINE. Of the group, some were seasoned professionals. Others were just starting their career. But when the lights lowered and the music began, no one would know the difference. Every model came down the runway with a swagger that expressed they were born to do this job. The team at TomboyX was grateful just to be a part of the moment. 


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OUR VOICE IS A COLLECTIVE ONE. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The Collective Voice

  • Marjory Unger

    Very cool clothes!!!