A groundbreaking new boutique is bringing together and creating spaces for lingerie collections that cater exclusively to queer- and trans-identified individuals.
Jeanna Kadlec recently launched Bluestocking Boutique, an online resource for an often-ignored fashion need for the queer community. Mainstream lingerie companies tend to cater exclusively to specific types of bodies and individuals. Kadlec saw this as a need for a more expansive way of thinking about lingerie.
While not a designer, Kadlec's boutique brings together different independent brands and fashion lines designed with queer bodies in mind. "I wanted to curate a collection that would appeal to a wide range of styles and also operate an inclusive store where queer- and trans-identified people could have the guarantee of being treated with basic dignity," she told The Huffington Post.
The Huffington Post chatted with Kadlec this week about Bluestockings Boutique and the ways in which she envisions it serving the needs of the queer community.
What is Bluestockings Boutique?
Jeanna Kadlec: Bluestockings Boutique is an alternative lingerie and underthings boutique geared to the LGBTQIA+ community. We are committed to providing independently designed, ethically manufactured underthings to people in a safe, inclusive environment.
I got the idea for Bluestockings and ran with it immediately, in spite of having no business background or money. As a queer-identified, femme presenting person, I liked lingerie, but partners and friends would never go shopping with me -- either the environment wasn't safe and/or they felt like the stores had nothing for them. I wanted to curate a collection that would appeal to a wide range of styles and also operate an inclusive store where queer- and trans-identified people could have the guarantee of being treated with basic dignity -- where their pronouns could be respected, where they could ask fitting questions and get an honest and intelligent answer, where they could have discreet shipping. Where their needs would be thought about in advance. Where they were valued as customers.
Why is this kind of representation so crucial for queer and trans-identified individuals?
Representation is not an idea; it's a practice. I think at the end of the day, brands and boutiques really have to practice what they preach, because advertisements and imagery indicate who your target customer is and who you want your customer to be. It's not enough to say "We like you!" while continuing to produce images of classically beautiful thin, white models who operate within the heteronormative gender binary.
In what way is this project challenging beauty norms?
This project represents everyday people who, bluntly, are never represented in lingerie imagery and are rarely represented in fashion. They are all explicitly queer, trans and non-binary identified, and the mere presence of our bodies in this industry is disruptive -- lingerie in the United States is all about the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, or thin white women in luxury silk loungewear on a chaise lounge. It's not queers in their underwear playing video games, decidedly not pandering to the male gaze, wearing what they want to wear on their own terms.
Also, the models' bodies have not been retouched or "photoshopped" in any way. For all that "no photoshop" itself has become a buzzword, like with Aerie's Emma Roberts campaign, I think it's notable to show a variety of everyday bodies that you would actually see on the street with no retouching.
What do you want people to take away from these images?
That they are seen, and they matter. Especially folks who the mainstream ignores. You are seen, and you matter.
Want to see more from Bluestockings Boutique? Head here.
Lingerie Made For Queer People? Now There's A Boutique For That
48 Transgender Pioneers
Award-winning filmmaker <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0905154/">Lana Wachowski</a>, who's best known for co-writing and -directing the "Matrix" trilogy with her brother, Andy Wachowski, was the first major Hollywood director to come out as transgender in July 2012.
The Chicago native recently released "Cloud Atlas" and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/lana-wachowski-transgender-cloud-atlas-director-reveals-pain-suicide-attempt_n_2009112.html">received the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award</a> in October 2012, where she delivered a revealing and heartfelt speech.