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NYFW: Behind The Scenes at Verge, the Largest Queer Fashion Show

Verge DapperQ queer fashion week ny
Photography by Dusty St. Amand

Trans activist Tiq Milan emceed the show, which featured eight designers whose work celebrated gender non-conformity.

Pictured, above: A model walking the runway for label SunSun

New York Fashion Week ended on Thursday with its largest queer runway show to date, Verge, held at the Brooklyn Museum.

The Best of New York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2016 in 25 Looks

A collaboration between dapperQ, bklyn boihood, Posture Magazine, and DYDH, Verge featured eight emerging designers whose collections showcase gender non-conformity and its intersections with race, ethnicity, and culture.

Verge DapperQ queer fashion week ny

Pictured, from left: SAGA; Fony; Lactic Designs

Trans activist and current GLAAD spokesperson Tiq Milan, who has collaborated with dapperQ since 2006, served as emcee for the event.

"As a transgender man, I've found that dapperQ is one of the most amazing organizations I could ever work with," Milan said. "They have a great message that helps to promote visibility within the transgender community. I feel honored to be a part of it."

He continues:

"This is more than just a fashion show and it's bigger than fashion week. LGBT, queer, non-straight, non binary --all of us who have been others are the pulse of what's hot and what's new and innovative. Because that's who we are. From Grace Jones to David Bowe, Beyonce to Lady Gaga, queerness and our unwavering self-determination to live, and look, and love exactly as we want has helped shape the legacy of these pop culture icons. This fashion is a statement of our authenticity."

Verge DapperQ queer fashion week ny

Pictured: Models backstage (left); model George Mott preps before walking for Not Equal

Also in attendance was Milan's wife, artist Kim Katrin Milan, who worked as the makeup artist for the event. "Whether it's filling in a beard or adding strong shadow to a jawline, it's about finding ways of highlighting masculinity or androgyny as defined by the model," Kim said. "I love when folks who have traditionally had a disempowering relationship with makeup, or have had it used to impose a kind of gender conformity, walk away from working with me and feel respected, affirmed, and hot."

More than 70 models were featured in designs by brands NotEqual by Fabio Costa, KQK by Karen Quirion, LACTIC, Fony, MARKANTOINE, SAGA by Sandra Gagalo, SunSun, and Jag & Co. Model Rain Dove, one of the Most Eligible Out Women, who set a record for being the most-cast female model during the inaugural Men's NYFW, was one of the celebrities who took center stage in KQK designs.

Model Issa Israel walked in the Fony collection, donning a dramatic hooded headpiece. "It's about time a show like this took place!" he said. "The fact that it was shown, not in a shitty little venue, but in the gorgeous Brooklyn Museum, is just amazing because it shows that gender-fluid collections are actually being respected."

Verge DapperQ queer fashion week ny

Pictured, from left: Lactic Designs, two looks by Fony.

Drag personality Untitled Queen walked for the Lactic collections, and had been at the museum preparing for the show the entire day.

"We've all been here practicing to make sure the show came out perfect," she said. "These designers are so talented and their designs are gorgeous. I'm proud of the way the show turned out."

Untitled's look was definitely one of the most jaw-dropping of the night. Donning her signature white-powdered face and long, black and blue wig, she also had to work the runway carrying over 20 pounds of tools and chains within her outfit, all while wearing platform shoes.

Verge DapperQ queer fashion week ny

Pictured, from left: Untitled Queen, Kim Katrin Milan, Tiq Milan

After the show, Milan took to the stage to thank the crowd for coming out to support the event and helping to bring visibility to the queer community.

"My style is an affirmation of the masculinity and identity that I've worked so hard to curate," Milan said. "My style is classic and unapologetically black. It lives outside of respectability, politics, assumptions, and other people's definitions. My style and my manhood is of my design. It's important for us to write our own stories, and to celebrate our beauty and our creativity, to claim it in the face of appropriation."

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