The fashion industry rarely caters for trans people, but one Melbourne designer is hoping to change that. Matthew Wade caught up with her to find out about her trans-inclusive bridal wear.
In the lead up to Australia achieving marriage equality last year, budding Melbourne-based fashion designer Caity Blackmore noticed that trans identities were often excised from the Yes campaign’s rhetoric.
While many gays and lesbians were given prominence throughout the campaign, urging the country to allow them the right to marry, the same platform wasn’t given to members of the trans community – despite the issue being equally as important to many of them.
“Now that we have marriage equality, I wanted to do a collection that celebrated that but specifically for trans women,” she says.
“I noticed throughout the whole [marriage equality] ordeal, or my interactions with it anyway, that everyone talked about gays and lesbians but the trans side of the community was in a way forgotten about, as if people didn’t realise marriage equality was for them also.
“It’s a community that is underrepresented and I’d like to bring that to the forefront.”
Blackmore’s bridal wear was showcased during the Box Hill Institute’s Botanica event earlier this month, an opportunity for the school’s fashion students to reveal the ranges they’d been working on.
One of the models wearing her wedding gowns on the runway was Anastasia Le, a trans advocate and radio personality.
Le says it was great to be part of an inclusive and diverse runway, one that embraced trans visibility and gender diversity, unlike many of its contemporaries.
“As a trans women in this current political climate, it’s comforting to know that the public has become more enlightened with more and more variations of life being visible,” she says.
“As a woman of colour, with an immigrant background and with a body shape and type generally considered unconventional by industry standards, [the runway] did a great job of showing the more colourful side of life.
“And the industry should keep reflecting that. This fashion parade is a reminder of the colourful world we live in, and that all shades and colours should be celebrated.”
With a passion for clothes and design that began when she was just ten, Blackmore says she’s excited to finish her course this year and continue to do what she loves.
She hopes her trans bridal wear will send an important message to the fashion industry.
“I’m hoping it will send a message that these segments in fashion need to become more inclusive for different genders and specifically the trans community, as they are underrepresented and rarely catered for in popular fashion,” she says.
“I’m also hoping the collection will bring attention to the trans community in general, and allow them to share the spotlight with the gay and lesbian side of the LGBT community and cis people, rather than being a ‘second thought’.”