Pride Creatives: Why Queer Designers are the Heartbeat of Local Fashion and Art

Pride Creatives: Why Queer Designers are the Heartbeat of Local Fashion and Art


Pride is a celebration of queer creativity, and in our local industries, these designers share their thoughts on how the LGBTQIA+ community created an impact

Let’s face it: the queer community is the backbone of the fashion and art industry. These realms would be as dull as an empty runway without their colorful contributions. Our local setting owes much of its evolving outputs to the tireless efforts of LGBTQIA+ creatives and despite Pride month being over, the celebration of queer talents go beyond the month of June. Below, designers share the importance of the community and how it has impacted the contemporary state of fashion and art.

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Puey Quiñones

“I’m very supportive of the gays in general. I hope our community unites and accepts who we are. There is no entertainment or fashion industry without us. There is no Hollywood. The world would be lonely if they don’t respect us,” says the designer.

It’s a sentiment of many in the industry. Without the force of the LGBTQIA+ community, the glamor and excitement we associate with fashion and entertainment would be non-existent. Quiñones’s support actively champions the unity and recognition of queer talent in all facets of the industry.

Bonita Penaranda

According to Bonita Penaranda, fashion is a tool for confidence “Being in the industry that is dominated by the members of the LGBTQIA+, it has taught me where to position myself as a transgender fashion designer. I’m able to show everyone what I can do and thrive at it,” she explains.

“The community has a huge impact on who I am today as a designer, because I want to make sure the people I dress feel confident in what I make, the same way I feel confident and proud to be part of this community. We inspire one another.” Her designs from her eponymous label represent her identity and the support of her community. Just Bonita speaks for itself—you are beautiful just the way you are.

Job Dacon

For Job Dacon, the influence of queer icons like Manfred Thierry Mugler and Bob Mackie was pivotal. “Undoubtedly, the LGBTQIA+ community has shifted the world of fashion to phenomenal heights, be it couture or streetwear,” he states.

“Two of my greatest inspirations growing up as a gay man were Mugler and Mackie whose creations just exude the essence of being fabulous. Little did I know that I’d be working within the industry and actually working with them recently,” he shares. Dacon considers the importance of supporting queer designers by appreciating and acquiring their work.

Glademir Echavarre

Glademir Echavarre sees fashion as a form of empowerment, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. “Fashion can become an armor, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. Growing up, fashion empowered me to reach my fullest potential. In a cruel world, sometimes a piece of clothing can be a source of strength. I have always been an advocate for championing youngsters. In fact, we have the House of Echavarre, which comprises my young protégés,” she explains.

Echavarre’s commitment to mentoring young creatives and inspiring a new generation of fearless individuals heightened the possibilities of what fashion can bring. “Through the House of Echavarre, I aim to foster a new generation of fearless and creative individuals who use fashion as a powerful tool for empowerment.”

Dino Bancoro

MEGA Young Designers Competition 2024 Finalist Dino Bancoro emphasizes the undeniable contribution of queer talent to the industry. “They ignited social movements and revolutionary changes to the way we look,” he states.

“Some of the masters such as Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Gaultier were all gay and inspiring us all with their work even to this day.” Bancoro opens the idea of the stronghold legacy of queer designers who have shaped and continue to influence the fashion world.

The local fashion and art industry thrives on the resilience of its queer members. Their contributions are not just significant; they are foundational. As Puey Quiñones aptly puts it, without the queer community, the world would indeed be a lonelier place. Through their work, these designers proactively express their identities, paving the way for a more inclusive future, complete with rainbows and pots of gold. 

Featured Image: MEGA ARCHIVES

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