This weekend marks the inaugural Capital Queer Women’s Summit, a joint effort by the Human Rights Campaign and Tagg Magazine, where attendees can connect with the queer women’s and LGBTQ community. Beginning on Friday, May 8 with the Ladies & Laughter Comedy Show and ending with a series of panels and workshops on Saturday May 9, women from all over the Metro D.C. area will have the opportunity to interact and engage with meaningful topics and opportunities that just don’t happen every day.
The culmination of Saturday’s panels and presentations will be the summit’s fashion show, featuring the gender neutral and androgynous designs of Dapper Boi and Gender Bender. Both brands are new to the fashion game and hope to make a mark and fill the gaping hole that exists between gender and fashion.
“We aren’t a company at all,” says Andrea Guspie, founder of Gender Bender. “The intent is we are more like a movement almost; a group of people that has come together because we share the same values and vision. And maybe we share the same stories of what we’ve been through. Gender Bender is more of a statement of who and what we are.”
Guspie and her team have developed shirts that spread positive and witty messages about gender identity and the need to accept all aspects of humanity. The Gender Bender movement maintains an active Facebook and Instagram account, where they sell shirts and make a positive impact on the community.
“Through our Instagram, teenagers contact us saying ‘Thank you. My parents don’t like me dressing this way or cutting my hair that way.’ Seeing our pictures and our followers really helps us reach out to as many people as we can and show them that it’s okay to be who you are,” says Heather Renner, business partner for Gender Bender. Both Renner and Guspie are excited to be a part of the Capital Queer Women’s Summit, where they hope to reach a broad audience with their messages of gender acceptance and humanity.
What started out as a venture to find the perfect suit for a lesbian prom has turned into DapperBoi.com, a new androgynous jeans company started by wedded couple Vicky and Charisse Pasche.
“We started out by asking ourselves, ‘what is one thing that everybody needs?’” says Vicky. “I remember my first time trying on men’s jeans, and they never fit me right,” Vicky recalls. “Jeans are something people wear every single day. We took the comfort and fit from the women’s jeans, but we took all the design elements from the men’s jeans to make them more masculine.”
The couple notes that the struggle to find the right pair of jeans can be particularly frustrating, especially given the vast differences in design and comfort for men’s and women’s jean designs.
“We know that not just for us, but for other people, how important an androgynous clothing line is. It gives them that confidence. They can identify with what we’re trying to do: helping people find a fashion line that will fit the way they feel inside,” says Charisse.
The couple currently has a kickstarter campaign to fund their new fashion adventure, which hopes to include casual shirts, and more styles and variations of jeans. “We don’t have a fashion background. What we have is passion.”
Dapper Boi jeans feature the latest in stretch technology to fit comfortably on various body types. All of the jeans featured at the show will feature a slim straight fit with a dark rinse.
The Capital Queer Women’s Summit takes place Saturday, May 9 11 .m. – 4:30 p.m. with the fashion show starting at 4 p.m. Tickets can still be purchased here.