The rise of trans models has been recently well-documented. But what about trans designers? Gogo Graham, a 24-year-old New York-based designer, sees the portrayal of trans women by cis women as inherently problematic—and her namesake fashion label aims to give other women the chance to express themselves as they see themselves.
Graham has recently finished shooting the lookbook for her Resort ’16 collection—her fifth collection for her brand—in collaboration with trans photographer Serena Jara. The models are a diverse mélange of individuals from the trans community, who Graham knows personally. Graham told i-D they were rounded up by “practically throwing boots at their window,” and their own unique personalities are just as important as the custom pieces they’re wearing.
Graham told i-D of her inspiration for this collection and lookbook:
“The whole idea started out with Serena and I talking about how there needs to be representation of trans women created by trans women because that doesn’t happen very often, especially in the fashion industry. It’s always been like “here’s what trans models are” and they’re gonna be the ones to tell you what that is, and you just have to swallow it. That’s not okay.”
Of course there’s also a practical aspect to clothing designed with trans bodies in mind—it takes into account fit considerations that are often ignored by mainstream, high-end designers.
“We don’t have options in fashion. We have to just look for stuff, and that stuff isn’t made for us. This time more than any other time I’ve been focused on seeing if I can make a collection that the models who are wearing it actually feel themselves in. I realized that I know how to hide things and accentuate things because I do that for myself, so I could easily do that for other girls too. It was really amazing because I would like talk to them and show them something I made and everyone was excited by it. They were all really fuckin supportive and I just love all the girls.”
See more of Graham’s high-impact Resort ’16 lookbook, above, and read her thoughts on the visibility of trans women in fashion, here.