He Said/We Said: Stylin’ in Cincy

dapperQ’s He Said/We Said has been getting around as of late. For the last two editions, we documented queer style in Vermont and Philly. And now, for our 21st edition, we’ve invited some dashing and stylish queers of Cincinnati to show us their swag.

For a quick refresher on the HS/WS series, check out creatress mastermind Anita Dolce Vita‘s plan behind the HS/WS magic:

“The models fashion their very own looks – I give the inspiration, they give the interpretation. They come to the shoot camera ready: hair, make-up, their own clothes, accessories and props. I didn’t want the series to reflect how to recreate menswear from an individual stylist’s point of view. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see what each model came up with and all of the different translations of the same inspiration.”

Photographer Cassandra Zetta, along with Anita Dolce Vita, selected the Orley Fall 2014 menswear collection as inspiration. Here’s what Zetta had to say about the inspiration and overall experience:

Being involved with this project left me with a sense of gratitude as I watched these incredible people be empowered through clothing, acceptance, and community. When choosing Orley as the designer, I felt that this line would provide both a stylish and relevant look for the times, while also being attainable. When paired with an urban location in downtown Cincinnati, it allowed the apparel to be noticed, and appreciated.


Inspiration

inspirationcincy


 

Interpretations

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From left to right: Bridge, Jessie, Alexis, Ali

 


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Jessica “Jessie” Hicks

Age: 30
Occupation: Library Services Assistant / Grad student
Outfit: Tie, Macy’s. Button up, Old Navy. Sweater, Old Navy. Pants, J. Crew. Shoes, Born.
Outfit sobriquet: Lesbrarian
Song that best describes your look: “Words Cannot Describe” by Mirah

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Ellen DeGeneres’

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I actually kind of hate shopping. My fiancée loves it, though, and she sometimes finds cute pieces for me at the thrift store. Men’s sections of discount stores can be goldmines, though! I have found really cute quality fall and winter wear like sweaters and coats at Gabriel Brothers, clearance sections of Sears, etc.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

That’s tough. I don’t wear a lot of accessories, usually. I’d say my glasses, or a belt. I can’t see very well without my glasses (obviously). Belts are necessary due to my pants issue (if they fit my legs, the waist is too big). I have a nice leather one that’s lasted since college, and a grey one I found at an army surplus for cheap.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

First of all, I was really nervous beforehand. My fiancée was the one who encouraged me to do it, and she even did the shopping so I could stay focused on grad school (the shoot happened to fall on a really busy weekend for me, school-wise). I have so many feelings about the HS/WS project; I think it’s amazing, but it also reminds me of how limited I am in fashion options due to location (Cincinnati doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar butch boutique, surprise), income (full-time student on a part-time wage makes it hard to justify special-ordering anything), and body type (“pear”).

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

Meeting the other models. I moved to Cincinnati 2 years ago, and still don’t have many friends, especially in the LGBT community. I’m kind of a homebody. As a recent transplant, going to local queer bars left me feeling like locals were pretty cliquish. But the shoot was a lot of fun, and they were all really friendly and cool.


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Bridge

Age: 20
Occupation: Student at University of Cincinnati, Social Work and Spanish
Outfit: Bowtie, Nicole Miller. Sweater, H&M. Collared shirt, Perri Ellis. Pants, H&M. Shoes, Call it Spring.
Outfit sobriquet: Call It Fall
Song that best describes your look: “Dressed Sharply” by An Horse

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Becca Hammond, one of my former supervisors when I was an RA at UC. Along with being an inspiring and motivating figure in my life, she was an important person in my life when I first started dressing masculine and needed someone to look up to for fashion guidance and overall confidence for being queer and gender non conforming in a space where we were part of the minority. I hope to aspire to her level of dapperness one day.

Otherwise: Brian Davis, proprietor of Red Hook Brooklyn’s Wooden Sleepers. Jonathon Linaberry, musician who goes by the moniker. The Bones of J.R. Jones. And Laura Kanaplue, aka @girlinabowtie on Instagram/Tumblr.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I LOVE thrift stores like Plato’s Closet or Casablanca Vintage in Northside. Or, anywhere I can find a good deal like Old Navy, Target and TJ Maxx and when I have the extra cash, H&M.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

Under Armor boxer briefs. I wish all of my boxers were Under Armor. They’re so comfy and great for every season. My binder is also an absolute must for every outfit. The last finishing touch is my earrings. My ears feel naked without them.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

As soon as I saw the advertisement for this shoot, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. In the last, year I’ve been slowly coming out as a transmasculine person (specifically nonbinary/agender). Gender presentation is such a crucial part of who we are, and unfortunately determines how well we are treated by the rest of the world, according to how well we “pass” based on society’s rigid and unrealistic expectations of what gender identity and expression means. I want to be a crucial part of defying these gender expectations and making room for everyone to be dapper, no matter their gender identity and/or expression, including any other identity that often gets stepped on by society (race, SES status, sexual and/or romantic orientation, education status, age, size, ability, etc,.) and regardless of how well they do or do not conform to the oppressive overarching gender expectations our society places on each one of us.

As a future social worker, a social justice activist, a transmasculine person, a fashion lover and a human, it just made sense for me to want to be a part of this project. There are so many issues that pertain to gender non-conforming people that affect our daily lives, and can alter the course of our future; our safety in public (especially restrooms), how seriously we are taken in a professional setting, how we are accepted by friends and family, access to education, health care, and so on. One of the greatest ways (in my idea) we can advocate for ourselves in creative and powerful ways is we must first educate others through great projects like He Said/We Said, to get our image out there and show people we exist, we are here to stay, and we look damn good doing it.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I always love meeting genuine and kind people in my community. It makes me feel less alone and empowered. So all the time I got to hang out with my friend Ali and get to know and share a laugh with Alexis, Cassandra, Jessie and Ali were my favorite moments of the shoot.


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Alexis Anderson

Age: 32
Occupation: Quality Control Specialist
Outfit: Cardigan, H&M. Shirt, H&M. Tie, Chaps. Pants, H&M. Shoes, Sperry Topsider. Watch, Fossil.
Outfit sobriquet: Autumn Stroll
Song that best describes your look: “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

I would definitely raid the closets of David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, and Lenny Kravitz if given the chance!

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I absolutely love H&M. Their men’s line is cut smaller than traditional menswear and fits me perfectly.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I cannot function without a watch. I feel absolutely naked!

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

For me, participating in the photoshoot for He Said/We Said is validation that style reaches beyond the traditional gender binary. I used to be self-conscious about my style expression but with more visibility, it has become less taboo. I feel more attractive and confident wearing a tie than I ever did wearing a dress and now I can do so without a second thought.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I really enjoyed meeting the other models and seeing that there are other stylistically like-minded individuals in the city.


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Ali M. Davis

Age: 28 (Capricorn)
Occupation: Program Facilitator at University of Cincinnati Program Facilitator; Tranz 101 Certified; Safe zone 101 Certified; Kingian Nonviolence Certified
Outfit: Shirt, Kenneth Cole. Pants, Kenneth Cole. Scarf/Tie, Stacy Adams Scarf/Tie. Socks, DKNY.
Outfit sobriquet: Mr. Flyy Guyy
Song that best describes your look: “Wipe Me Down” by Lil Boosie

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

If I could switch wardrobes with any celeb, it would have to go with Steve Harvey. I mean, the brother is sharp.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

When I want to grab some cool digs I usually go to small boutiques. I love House of Adam here in Cincy.

What accessory/article of clothing can you not live without? Why?

I cannot live without my BINDER!!!! No seriously, I really love skull caps and scarves. They add just the right amount of flare without over doing it.

What did it mean for you on a personal level to be involved in a project like He Said/We Said?

When this opportunity came about, I was nervous. Ultimately, this is great for the community because it adds visibility.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I really enjoyed meeting cool people and an awesome photographer. It was much needed.


Credits:

Cassandra Zetta
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