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No Sesso Made History for Trans Designers at New York Fashion Week

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Though others like Gogo Graham have shown at the event, No Sesso was the first on the official NYFW schedule.

MikelleStreet

No Sesso touching down in New York for fashion week was a big deal. "It was a major moment for the brand to come here, definitely," Pierre Davis, the creative director of the label, tells Out. "We all know it's the capital for fashion in the United States, so showing here at fashion week was a major goal I wanted to achieve." And now, that achievement pulls double duty as not only accomplishing Davis's goal but for also making history; though others like Gogo Graham have shows during the event, this season's No Sesso show made Pierre Davis the first trans designer to ever show on the official New York Fashion Week calendar.

"It's important to take up space," Davis says. "And in the spaces that we get, it's important to us that our friends and our collaborators are there to take up space with us and contribute. It's about community and highlighting the people you don't normally see in fashion." During our phone interview, that growing but tight-knit community - which includes not only some of the show models but also behind-the-scenes staff like the hair-and-makeup team who had traveled from LA together and were rooming together -- was sitting around, listening to the call.

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For Fall 2019 season, the Los-Angeles based brand turned its eyes to business. "The inspiration was business bitch," Davis says. That meant strong, power shoulders as well as other structured garments, and textured silhouettes that were deconstructed. "But, we also wanted to obviously show out a little more when we found out that we were showing in New York, so some of the pieces definitely were show statements." Models made their way down the long runway to the sounds of a Mister Vacation mix, which pepperred in the "cunty" laugh of Eartha Kitt, LSDXOXO soundbites and the crashes of the ballroom scene.

The 4-year-old brand's work is mostly artisanal, focused on custom one-offs this season modeled exclusively by models of color including musician Steve Lacy and model/DJ Maya Mones. This allowed the designers to be less concerned about the intricacies of factory production and instead create eye-catching, truly editorial pieces.

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"It's always about fun art pieces and telling stories or making stuff for our friends who are musicians and personalities, that will wear these looks for events on the red carpet," Davis explained. In the past they've collaborated with Kelela, Kelsey Lu, and SZA. "Eventually we will probably get more into putting stuff into production but right now we're just mostly having fun with the garments that we make and building brand identity."

And that brand identity is salient, with the label having already made a name for itself by hosting its own shows in Los Angeles. Last year No Sesso showed a collection at the world-renowned Getty Museum, and have been turning out much discussed collections. Since that, the brand has been featured on a variety of Vogue editions. So it wasn't like they came to Manhattan empty-handed.

"LA really isn't taken seriously with fashion but we've been making our own noise and making our own rules," Arin Hayes who runs the brand with Davis says. "So I think it was important for us to really sort of make our fashion debut in a way that says we are from LA, we have fun but we do take what we are doing seriously and we also take fashion seriously."

Nicolas Bloise03-nicolas-bloise

Photography by Nicolas Bloise

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Mikelle Street

Mikelle is the former editorial director of digital for PrideMedia, guiding digital editorial and social across Out, The Advocate, Pride.com, Out Traveler, and Plus. After starting as a freelancer for Out in 2013, he joined the staff as Senior Editor working across print and digital in 2018. In early 2021 he became Out's digital director, marking a pivot to content that centered queer and trans stories and figures, exclusively. In September 2021, he was promoted to editorial director of PrideMedia. He has written cover stories on Ricky Martin, Miss Fame, Nyle DiMarco, Jeremy O. Harris, Law Roach, and Symone.

Mikelle is the former editorial director of digital for PrideMedia, guiding digital editorial and social across Out, The Advocate, Pride.com, Out Traveler, and Plus. After starting as a freelancer for Out in 2013, he joined the staff as Senior Editor working across print and digital in 2018. In early 2021 he became Out's digital director, marking a pivot to content that centered queer and trans stories and figures, exclusively. In September 2021, he was promoted to editorial director of PrideMedia. He has written cover stories on Ricky Martin, Miss Fame, Nyle DiMarco, Jeremy O. Harris, Law Roach, and Symone.