Let’s get into the mind of creative director and influencer Sef Loseo to find out how they use fashion to inspire and champion femme empowerment
The creative director’s works reflect their aesthetic inclination and always invoke queer fashion and art. While the producer of today’s stunning visual campaigns has undergone many phases, their signature imprint has remained unchanged: gender clothing is blurred, mixed, or exaggerated. Sef’s Instagram page is a beautiful display of their queer femme fashion journey and could easily be a guide to anyone aiming to spice up their wardrobe.
“How we choose to show up everyday is what freedom looks like.”
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sef since the earlier years of Poison Wednesdays, which I consider the Big Bang of the new queer revolution. Lovingly called the Poison Kids, these night creatures from a few years back are shaping our society’s creative landscape. It’s been incredible to witness Sef blossom and firmly plant those chunky knee-high boots into the ground. They grew up and evolved with their followers, who drew comfort and joy from knowing someone was bravely trekking through this world that is often unkind to us.
Queer fashion isn’t just about style, but also a journey of finding the confidence and courage to remain true to oneself
Tell us about your journey of accepting and expressing your identity through fashion.
“I grew up in a household full of women. I’ve seen different versions of femininity and how powerful it can be. That has inspired me a lot to embrace my own. Women and their strong feminine energy have inspired me since I was a kid.”
“When I started navigating my life as a young adult entering his 20s, I realized that it isn’t ideal for most people in the bigger real world, especially in the dating pool aspect. Femininity is seen as a weakness and a negative trait. I’d be a hypocrite if I told you that, at some point, I didn’t try to conform to what was acceptable and universally likable. Still, during those times, I realized that I wasn’t being true to myself and wasn’t completely happy. Deep down, I knew something was missing, and I had to be true to myself ‘cause I couldn’t keep living like that.”
“I told myself, ‘You know what? Eff it!’ I purchased my first pair of high-heeled boots and started wearing them around. It didn’t matter if they matched my outfit or if I was being extra and inappropriate at events and places; I knew I had to wear them. It’s crazy how a pair of shoes can change you in the best way possible.”
How has your style evolved as you discovered more about yourself?
“It all started with a pair of high-heeled boots, and then I got curious about skirts, dresses, and makeup, and eventually got into drag. The fashion possibilities are endless if you unlearn what it means to look like a boy or a girl and focus on what feels good and correct. If I like it, I’ll wear it—this is how I can describe my style today.”
Please share some examples of when you felt ridiculed or judged for your queer femme fashion. How do you handle such situations?
“Every time I go out and wear something that makes sense to my fantasy, the aggression in the streets is crazy, but a memory that stood out to me. Right before the pandemic, I was walking in Cubao. A stranger approached me and asked, ‘Bakla ka ba? Bakla ka, no?’ He aggressively started walking towards me until I started running. He was holding this huge block of wood. He was really out to get me just because I’m queer.”
“Luckily, I could find a guarded establishment where I stayed until a friend picked me up. I wasn’t just ridiculed or judged; I was running for my life back then, which greatly impacted how I care for myself daily. I would bring extra shoes and a jacket just to “queer-proof” myself. Honestly, this experience crushed the confidence I worked so hard on for many years. Still, one thing that kept me going as I built my confidence and power again—I can’t allow myself to be a forever victim of this hateful and ignorant world. I can’t stop and hide. Not now, not ever. The power of visibility is inspiring but dangerous, yet powerful.”
The Power of #LETBOYSBEFEMININE
You’ve inspired many queer kids to find their style, stay true to themselves, and be brave. Tell us more about your empowering hashtag
“More than the amazing looks from these kids who relate and use this hashtag, the stories they share with me keep me inspired. I believe in the power of exchanging energies in the same way we can all inspire each other. They inspire me, too, to be honest.”
“But one thing that really sticks to me because of #LetBoysBeFeminine is when I unconsciously create a safe space where these queer kids can be comfortable enough to let me help them navigate their sexual health as they approach their 20s. A lot of my followers are Gen Zs, and given that sex education isn’t exactly part of the curriculum here in our country, these kids are left in the dark on how to be a more responsible and sex-positive queer person. I said ‘unconsciously’ because all I post are fashion and creative-related, not knowing that from their POV, it could be something much more than that, and I think that’s such a humbling and amazing thing. We’re creating bigger safe spaces more than we’ll ever know simply because of our visibility. The power of visibility can never be underestimated. I can’t stress that enough.”
What gives fashion the ability to relay a strong statement without uttering words?
“In a world full of people who look, act, and think the same way because they’re trapped inside this heteronormative bubble, wearing something that feels good and correct to you and your fantasy is a strong statement. I believe individuality is such a powerful thing, the same way it can be very scary to some.”
“Our presence alone represents a ‘fuck you’ to the entire world without even saying a thing.”
Photos: SEF LOSEO (via Instagram)