He Said/We Said: SoCal Late Summer Swag

Last March, dapperQ produced our first ever Cali He Said/We Said (HS/WS) shoot in San Fran for Autostraddle. For our 18th edition of HS/WS, we returned to Cali, this time focusing on SoCal style. While the fashion industry has already moved on to fall collections, dapperQ thought August was the perfect time to publish a late summer shoot, because (1) it is still hella hot in some areas and (2) many of our readers who live in cities where it is warm all year (Miami, LA, etc.) feel neglected once we start publishing posts that are blazer and boot heavy.

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 Jordan Barclay and Anita Dolce Vita selected the Ami Spring 2015 menswear line as inspiration. Here’s what Barclay had to say about the inspiration and overall experience:

It meant so much to me to be a part of this project. Even if some of us are inside safe bubbles of acceptance when it comes to bending the rules of “gender norms,” there are still so few resources out there for us. Working with these models was amazing because I could tell that each of them felt that this project was serving a bigger purpose rather than just as a fashion statement. Even though they all came from different backgrounds they all seemed to connect on a really unique level, and in my opinion did a fantastic job of representing Los Angeles and dapperQ.




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From left to right: Karen Du; Alessia Mordini; Mars; Dana Variano-Comisi; Jatearra Ritchie; Mari; Dani Shay


Karen Du

Age: 24
Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/her
Occupation: Freelance cinematographer/camera assistant; Co-producer of super hip kids’ show Pancake Mountain; writer
Outfit: Button up, watch, belt, and tie from a variety of shops in the LA Fashion District. Jacket, 21Men. Pants and shoes unknown brand.
Song that best describes your look:

“Dressed to Kill” by New Found Glory — this is more or less just an excuse to talk about the greatest band that ever lived.

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Andrew Garfield or Adam Brody. They’ve got the entire casual-to-formal spectrum covered.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I’m a fan of the LA Fashion District — there are a million and five (precise estimate) unique shops around there selling everything from three-piece suits to watches and shoes. If you’re willing to walk around for a while, you’re sure to find something good/affordable.

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

As someone who has spent countless hours on the internet seeking tips on how to make menswear actually fit on my body (these hips), it’s an honor to be a part of a project like He Said/We Said. Also, being a person who is usually behind the camera and never in front, it was an exciting feeling allowing myself to be vulnerable in a way that I’m not used to.


Alessia Mordini

Preferred Gender Pronoun: She
Age: 26
Occupation: Graphic designer
Outfit: Shirt, Calvin Klein. Jacket and pants, Cos. Shoes, Dr. Martens.
Song that best describes your look:

“Sail” by Awolnation

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Cameron Diaz!

Where are your favorite places to shop?


What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

The whole shoot was nice, but I think my favorite part was when we had to talk to each other in front of the seaside while doing the group pictures.



Age: 31
Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/her
Occupation: Colorist/Editor (Instragram: @PracticeinPublic)
Outfit: Entire outfit styled by Lovevanka. Boots, Ebay. Jacket, Topshop. Pants, Zara. Shirt, American Apparel. Glasses, Forever 21.
Outfit sobriquet: Hipster Hogwarts Magician
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

Tilda Swinton/Nyada Kurt Hummel/Daniel Anthony St. George II

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

My motorcycle jacket…literally I can’t live without it…in event of a crash.

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

There are, still, so few outlets for those of us tackling gender norms in fashion in this particular way. I always like taking the opportunity to embody a solitary old man — in fashion or by yelling at young people.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

Definitely the conversation about Girl Meets World NOT living up to its predecessor.


Dana Variano-Comisi

Age: 30
Occupation: Training Producer, NationBuilder. Independent filmmaker; Where’s My Sled.
Preferred Gender Pronoun: She
Outfit: Hat, OBEY. Shirt, Abercrombie. Shorts, Old Navy. Sweatshirt, American Apparel. Socks, Stance.
Song that best describes your look:

“Soco Amaretto Lime” by Brand New

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Local skate shops, wherever I might be traveling. They always have the coolest indie tees, as well as a huge selection of sneakers and hats, which are both my jam.

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

Full circle! It was cool to be involved on the modeling end after so many years on the back end. As one of the founding employees of dapQ, it’s been really cool to see the movement grow and make its way out to me in LA.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I love the beach, so it’s always amazing to be spending a Sunday afternoon on the sand near the waves. It was hilarious sitting near the bike path and having rollerbladers trying to figure out who among us was famous, and why we were having our photo taken so many times.


Jatearra Ritchie

Preferred Gender Pronoun: They/them. She.
Occupation: Painter of Things (Instagram @Jatearra)
Outfit: Blazer, vintage Ralph Lauren jacket from a collection circa 1980. Shirt, H&M. Shoes, Merona, Target brand. Pants, Basic.
Outfit sobriquet: Marco Polo
Song that best describes your look:

“Polish Girl” by Neon Indian

Whose wardrobe would you raid?

I have an amazing friend up north who is the same size and height as me and when we first met all I wanted to do was try on all their clothes I felt like we were made for each other so we could just trade blazers and shoes for the rest of our lives. Their Tumblr is menswearinbed.tumblr.com

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

I can’t leave my house without my ring because it was a gift from somebody really close to my heart and literally matches everything I own. (Mad props to my Washington family.)

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

My favorite part was when somebody’s grandma walked away from her family to watch us get ready for the shoot, and she kept smiling at all of us. It made me really happy.


Mari / Mars

Age: 24
Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/her
Occupation: Writer; Student; Human Being
Outfit: Shirt, Nautica. Pants, GAP. Shoes, The Frye Company. Belt, Nordstrom. Tie, Urban Outfitters. Watch, Casio. Jacket (held in photo), UNIF.
Whose wardrobe would you raid?

If there exists a person whose style is a cross between A$AP Rocky and Tegan & Sara, I would raid their wardrobe immediately. And I mean, immediately.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

There’s nothing better than shopping online! If I must venture outside of the internet, you’ll likely find me at American Apparel, Topman, Zara or anywhere else with a boys section. It’s a struggle to find the right fit, but there’s solace in knowing I’m not alone.

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

I can’t imagine life without a pair of Clarks desert boots hugging my feet. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever known.

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

When I was 14 years old, I likened my wardrobe to a line of cold, metal bars behind which my identity was trapped. In my adolescent rebellion, I secretly borrowed articles of clothing from my brother’s closet and changed in the school bathroom before my first class. More than anything else, I wanted Molly Brown to help spruce me up in her son’s tuxedo so that I may slick my hair back and ask Rose DeWitt Bukater for a dance. Although my youthful fantasies were seemingly impossible a decade ago, I’m so grateful to be awake and alive at a time where spaces like dapperQ exist to celebrate nongendered self-expression, especially in the realm of fashion. As I reflect on my involvement with this project, I can’t help but smile at the thought of how proud little me would be of her future self, still “dressing to fight the good fight each day.”


Dani Shay

Age: 26
Preferred Gender Pronoun: No preference really. She, he, they… it’s all me.
Occupation: Singer/songwriter, actor, activist with television spots on America’s Got Talent and The Glee Project 2. (Facebook and Twitter)
Outfit: Self-ripped jean shorts. A vest I’ve had for over 5 years. Button up, Old Navy. 2014 World of Dance hat.
Song that best describes your look:

“All The Small Things” by Blink 182. Don’t ask me why.

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

Right now, it’s this gold “tree of life” pendant I got from a friend.

What were your favorite moments from the shoot?

I remember Jordan directing us to converse naturally during this one group shot, but then she would ask each of us to gaze away from whomever we happened to be chatting with. Haha. This made me laugh.


Jordan Barclay, Photographer
Portrait Website 
Commercial Portfolio

Joe Espinoza, Hair Stylist 
instagram: @joeskpcolor

Alexandra Rosa, Makeup Artist

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DapperQ is one of the world’s most widely read digital queer style magazines and is a preeminent voice in queer fashion and beauty. We inspire people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender presentations to think differently about both queer fashion and beauty as art and visual activism, and ultimately have a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with style. In the words of founder Anita Dolce Vita, “dapperQ is a queer fashion revolution, one of the most stylish forms of protest of our generation.”

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  1. Got some clothes money for my birthday, and this has provided me with a lot of inspiration. B) Thank you!

  2. Thank you He Said/We Said for finally giving me something to like about SoCal other than Kobe and the Lakers!

    Ok, I’m a little late, but give me a break…between the book signings, speaking at a technology conference in San Francisco and managing the “Hillary” store in Kosovo (true story…it’s located on Bill Clinton Boulevard! Yes, it is!), it took me a minute to see the late summer shoot! And I do looove these young dapperQ’s!

    But nice try SoCal, despite the stunning allure of your dapper models, you still can’t lure my pasty stumps to your sandy beaches. I’m going back to Chappa, Chappa, Chappaqua!

  3. I love this series! Quick question though, could “preferred gender pronoun” just be “gender pronoun” or “pronoun”? “Preferred” always sounds to me like it suggests that someone prefers this pronoun but could be called anything. Almost like it’s a request (that can be denied) rather than a statement of how someone should be spoken about. Does this make sense?

    Anyway, thanks for all the clothing inspiration. These looks are such great material for figuring out clothing for the transition from summer to fall.

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