It’s no secret that the LGBTQ community has helped shape the fashion industry and its ever-evolving trends. In fact, many iconic fashion moments wouldn’t exist without the community’s creativity and impact.
The fashion industry is indebted to the LGBTQ community, the contributions of which haven’t gone completely unnoticed in years past. We agree there can always be more recognition, but many of the fashion world’s designers are known to show support for the oft-targeted and marginalized group.
Below ― in no particular order ― check out nine standout moments in which the fashion world paid homage to the members of the LGBTQ community in recent years.
1. Opening Ceremony’s Spring/Summer 2019 Show
Opening Ceremony’s spring/summer 2019 show was a “drag extravaganza” created by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour and OC creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim.
According to Elle UK, Velour hand-picked more than 40 LGBTQ models to be in the show, which was meant to “celebrate the art of drag.” Others in the show included fellow drag queens Lypsinka, Miss Fame and “Drag Race” alum Jiggly Caliente.
“Drag performers have been seen as a low form of entertainment for a while and to be in this space where we’re being treated like valuable performers is world-changing,” Velour said after the show, per Elle UK. “I hope that will multiply for everyone ― not just for me and this cast, but all of the incredible drag performers out there.”
2. Chanel’s Spring 2013 Couture Show
The couture bride ― typically the model who wears the final look during a couture show ― has become a mainstay of couture fashion week over the years. And for his spring 2013 show, the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld sent two down the runway.
Models Ashleigh Good and Kati Nescher closed the show, walking hand in hand down the catwalk. The deliberate casting of two female models was an apparent show of support for France’s move toward marriage equality, according to CR Fashion Book. The same year this Chanel show was presented, France passed a bill that made it illegal to refuse marriage to same-sex couples.
3. Monisha Jaising’s Summer 2017 Show
Transgender model Anjali Lama, who was born in Nepal, became the first trans model to walk the runway at Lakme Fashion Week (considered India’s version of fashion week). The model appeared in the show wearing a gold embellished gown with a plunging neckline.
In an Instagram post featuring a photo from the show, Lama called the experience “amazing.”
“I do hope to be an inspiration for other transgender people,” Lama told Agence France-Presse, per The Express Tribune. “I’d like to tell them to always believe in themselves and to work towards their goals.”
4. Ashish’s Fall/Winter 2017 Show
Fashion designer Ashish Gupta stayed true to form for his fall/winter 2017 show, sending models down the runway in sequin outfit after sequin outfit. And while sparkles are almost always eye-catching, it was the graphics that really caught our eyes.
The collection featured a number of garments printed with statements like “Love sees no colour” and “Why be blue when you can be gay!” establishing the show as a “middle finger to the establishment,” as fashion publication 1 Granary put it. The outlet also notes Gupta’s collection had an overarching message of acceptance and tolerance.
5. Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2018 Show
Christopher Bailey, the former creative director of Burberry, dedicated his final collection for the luxury label “to the best and brightest organizations supporting LGBTQ youth around the world,” he said in a statement on Instagram.
“There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength, and our creativity,” Bailey added.
Models walked down a colorfully lit runway in a variety of looks, which combined Burberry’s signature tartan with references to the rainbow-colored pride flag. The most show-stopping look from the collection was a rainbow striped faux fur cape, worn by model Cara Delevingne, who has been open about gender and sexual fluidity.
6. No Sesso’s Fall/Winter 2019 Show
In February 2019, Pierre Davis made history as the first transgender fashion designer to show a collection at New York Fashion Week.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America made the announcement about the show back in January. Davis, whose brand is agender according to Elle, told the CFDA (per Elle UK) that she hoped No Sesso “will inspire people to be more community-minded and to realize not everything is just about aesthetics or commerce. It’s also about humanity.”
“The playing field isn’t level in the world, and it is even more difficult in fashion,” Davis said.
7. Anja Gockel’s Spring/Summer 2017 Show
Anja Gockel, a Berlin-based designer, took inspiration from colorful flags for her spring/summer 2017 runway show. Among those flags was the multicolored pride flag, which in one case, was fashioned into a full-length halter dress and worn by a male model.
8. Marco Marco’s Collection Seven Presentation
Designer Marco Morante of Marco Marco sent a cast of all transgender models down the runway for his fashion show in September 2018 in New York. The show made history thanks to the fact that it featured the most trans men ever assembled on a New York Fashion Week runway, according to Mic. (Trans designer Gogo Graham featured a cast of all trans models in 2015.)
Morante, who said trans and nonbinary individuals have always been part of his shows, said that he “wanted to create a space to celebrate trans bodies,” per Mic.
The outlet also noted that Morante added, “This was an opportunity for their presence to be undeniable and reinforce that trans is beautiful.”
Among those who walked in the show were trans stars like Laverne Cox, Gigi Gorgeous (pictured above), Trace Lysette, Dominique Jackson and Angelica Ross.
9. “Project Runway’s” Season 17 Catwalk
Model Mimi Tao became the first transgender model to grace the “Project Runway” catwalk during the show’s 17th season. She made her debut on the season premiere, when she was paired with designer Kovid Kapoor (his design is pictured above).
“I have been working so hard to get here, especially for the transgender people,” she said to Kapoor, per the website Pride. “They need to work harder than other people … I want to inspire all the transgender young generation who have a dream.”