Queer as in fuck you - it's pride month! Let's talk about queer lingerie.
Most of you know that I'm queer, but for the record: Hey! Listen! I'm queer! (bonus points to those who got the reference.) I've been queer all of my life, although I didn't really realise it until I was 15 - and back then I still thought of it as a phase. After meeting the first big love of my life, who happened to be a woman, and that I completely and totally didn't realise that this was not a crush but full blown love because heteronormativity told me it just couldn't be and I'm too young to know that anyway, it took me a while to realise that. Well, now, almost 15 years later, I definitely know I'm queer. Also, I met her last weekend and I still got week in the knees. ALMOST 15 YEARS LATER goddamnit. (and, S, if you read this: Hi! I love you.)
I'm bisexual and currently living in two heterosexual relationships, but guess what, being with a man doesn't make me less queer! Yes, I know, mindblowing! Sending lots of love to all those not being seen because they are seen as straight and don't feel validated.
I see you, I know how this feels, you're still queer, I love you :*
In Austria pride is not such a big thing yet but we do have some bigger events, especially in the cities, the biggest being the Regenbogenparade in Vienna on the 18th of June. Both a big party but also the chance to publicly remember and protest all the discrimination and hatred. We're not only celebrating our identity, we're celebrating all those who fought so we could be here today. And all those who still fight, all of us who are still alive against all odds and all of those who are not.
We're remembering those who lost their lifes to HIV (with gay and bisexual men still being at a much higher risk of getting infected with HIV compared to straight people). Remembering those who were victims of hate crimes because of their sexuality or gender identity. Remembering the trans women of colour, who are so much more likely to be killed in a hatecrime that there are more obituaries than trans WOC on our favourite TV shows. Remembering the victims of Orlando, beautifully written in this article about queer grief. Thinking of Chechnya.
And since we're a lingerie blog, I of course want to talk about some of the amazing queer people in the lingerie industry that inspire me and topics about queerness in the lingerie world that are dear to my heart. There have been some great articles written by people much more eloquent than I am, so I'll link some of them here:
- There are already great resources on what queer brands to support out there: This latest article over on NYLON about seven super inclusive queer brands, lingerie and fashion, is perfect. A bigger list on queer owned businesses is on Autostraddle, published last winter.
- A truly perfect article on homophobia in the lingerie industry and why everyone is quiet about pride by the wonderful Jeanna Kadlec, owner of the one and only queer lingerie online boutique Bluestockings Boutique.
- Wondering about what makes lingerie queer? Yeah, me too. So did a couple of other people when we were talking about queer lingerie on the Bluestockings Blog two years ago. It's long, so you can read part one here and part two here. It includes quotes by yours truly, Cora Harrington and Rose Wednesday from The Lingerie Addict, Lori Smith from Rarely Wears Lipstick, Caro from The Lingerie Lesbian and two currently inactive bloggers: Jilly from JilliesFrillies and The Technicolor Lover.
- You like the rainbow knickers I'm wearing in the above pic? You can purchase them via Bluestockings Boutique and read my review of them (hint: I love them) on the Bluestockings Blog.
Considering that most of the brands talked about when talking about queer lingerie are US or UK brands I chose to spotlight some lesser known queer brands and lingerie people from Germany deserving of our love and business!
This soon to launch brand from Berlin is founded by Heidi, who identifies as lesbian. I can't tell you how excited I am about this brand! Their goal is to make lingerie for E-J cup finding its inspiration from the Berlin fetish scene. I know, the strappy lingerie style is already mainstream - but not for bigger busts (some exceptions apply of course). I love their images and am very excited about their launch. Be sure to follow them on social media to be up to date and check out their website!
I asked Heidi whether and how being queer influenced her lingerie business:
How being part of the queer community influenced my business Being lesbian and engaging with the queer community significantly shaped my views on my body and body positivity. In my teens and twenties (when I still thought I was straight) I was very uncomfortable in my own skin. By most “standards” I was too big – my thighs were too fat, my arms were too chubby and my boobs were definitely too enormous to be considered desirable. This changed when I realized I was attracted to women and plunged headfirst into the Berlin queer scene. It was a different environment. The pressure to be stereotypically beautiful was strangely absent. I could dress masculine, feminine, or anything in between; wear a bra or let my boobs bounce unsupported; wear makeup or just go without – it really didn’t matter. The people around me had other values: tolerance and respect. With time I learned to love my body and increasingly explored my sensuality. During a night out in Berlin’s BDSM scene I was amazed by how freely women of all shapes and sizes were chasing their desires. Not one of them was self-conscious. I wanted to share this experience with other women who might be struggling with their bodies the way I did, and encourage them to embrace their passions. At the same time I wanted to make lingerie for the curvy woman who is already proud of her body and indulges her wild side. And so Pique Lingerie was born.
After the pics of this poppy corset went a bit viral in the corsetry and lingerie world I think most of you already know this corset, but do you know who made it? It's made by unartig bespoke corsetry, founded by owner and designer Lotte Peters. Her workshop is located in Hildrizhausen, in the south of Germany. You can see more of her work on her website or on social media.
When asked how her queerness (Lotte is bisexual) influences her work, she answered:
"Meine Neigungen und meine Offenheit anderen gegenüber spiegeln sich auch in meiner Arbeit wieder: Viele meiner Kunden sind Transgender, (heimliche) Fetischisten oder oft auch Menschen, denen ich mit meiner Arbeit zu einem neuen Körpergefühl verhelfe, unabhängig von Geschlecht, Alter oder Figur."
"My sexuality and being openminded towards other people are seen in my work too: A lot of my customers are transgender, (in the closet) fetishists or often just people, who I can help towards a new body image with my work, indepent of their sex, age or bodyshape."
Designer and Owner Sabrina is queer and her openness and body positivity radiances through her work. Offering a big sizing range and being unapologetic about the fact that she is plus size, bald and queer she's one of my heroines. She is still rather new in the lingerie world (her brand launched in 2016) but with her focus on mass customization and a big sizing range I hope that she'll be a force for change for the next years! As a plus size queer woman her view on lingerie is an important one that I'm happy to support. I especially love the editorial shots that are some of the best lingerie pics I've ever seen and so refreshing in a world full of objectifying lingerie models. Her choice of models, with the bald and edgy "Das Sommerle" as the main model, a heavily body modded model and a plus size model as some of her first models for her brand is not only rare but also brave to start with a diverse cast especially when you're a new brand.
You can buy her stuff through her website and online shop and every now and then there's the chance to visit her in her atelier. Follow TightLaced on social media to stay up to date!
When asked how she would describe herself, she chose the umbrella term queer:
Ich verstehe mich als Mensch und tue mein bestes andere Menschen so anzunehmen, wie sie sind. Ich biete auf Anfrage Maß und Sonderanfertigungen an, wenn ich fuer den Menschen, der gerne etwas von mir haben moechte nicht die richtigen Schnitte oder Groessen dabei sind. Mode und Design werden die Welt nicht im grossen Stil aendern, aber ich moechte mein moeglichstes dazu beitragen, dass meine Kundschaft durch meine Arbeit ein Stueck Schoenheit und selfconfidence/selfawareness erhaelt, egal, wie andere Menschen sie vielleicht wahrnehmen.
I see myself as a human and I'm doing the best I can to accept other humans the way they are. I do custom and bespoke work if my customer can't find the style or size right for them in my shop. Fashion and design won't change the world on the big scale, but I'm trying my hardest to help my customers feel beautiful and confident and self aware, no matter how other people might see them.
Eva from ParaNoire design sees herself as queer, and, after some thoughts, added an “can I just say It’s complex”? Yes. Yes you absolutely can. So many people think that being queer means one thing and is super easy to categorize (mostly they think it means gay. Like, gay is the only acceptable thing of being queer. Nu-uhhhh.) ParaNoire Design is located in Hamburg and although it's still on a lower schedule due to Eva's recovery after an intermezzo with cancer there's some of ParaNoire's signature styles to be shopped via her etsy shop.
ParaNoire makes beautiful undies for humans of all sizes, shapes and genders. No matter if you like super-girly, frilly bloomers, sultry sheer lace sets, a versatile and simple staple for your everyday wardrobe or a very special customised piece made to your very own measurements. I do it all, and I love what I do.
These were the four brands I really wanted you all to get to know, all of them deserve a much bigger audience and our support! Did you know them yet? Are there other brands with queer owners I should check out?