When I was asked to model for Stanley Carroll in this year’s Western Canada Fashion Week I was completely shocked. In a good way.
I would have been completely flattered to be asked to model for them in general, but there is an added element to my initial disbelief. I am transgender and openly so, an identity that, unless embroiled in controversy, is not commonly spoken about in Alberta media, nevermind Western Canada.
Being trans means your gender is often in question and being evaluated by everyone around you. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to explain and quantify yourself on a repeated basis. There are many people that will flatly deny the existence of transgender people, and others that may believe that while you can be transgender, transitioning in any way should not be an option.
Coming back to being asked to model, it was an amazing moment of feeling completely accepted as I am, and unquestioned in my gender. That a clothing line wanted me, someone who is gender variant to represent their menswear on the runway, means that they have no question that the idea of what represents masculinity in the public eye can be expanded. It also gives a much needed public statement of support and visibility to transgender people, in a province that has had a history of debating issues of human rights in regards to gender identity.
After doing a photoshoot for the line earlier this week, I was talking with Stanley, asking him a bit about his work and he told me how designing clothing is not so much about selling a product, as it is about making a person have a positive emotional reaction. About them feeling something great about themselves.
Clothing and fashion are a powerful artform in that way, and though we often don’t think about it, we use our clothing to make statements about ourselves and how we want to be seen. Next week, we’ll be making a statement through clothing in a different way.
Look for me on Wednesday night, March 30, but don’t look too hard, this introvert will be nervous as hell.