This week in XL Tribesmen Tribesmen Of The Week Van Bailey we celebrate Happy Pride Month. I wanted to open the month with a person that lives the trans experience. I know it’s been months since my last Tribesmen but we are back up and running on new servers that are faster and can handle the growth.
- What’s one misconception about Big & Tall Men that you hear often? And what are you doing to change it?
- A misconception I often see is that all Big & Tall Men fit the “brawn” build. I am a shorter person and when I see Big & Tall, I often wonder – does that include me? I would love to model for a Big & Tall brand, however, as a person of trans experience, I do not see that representation out there. I would urge brands to reconsider their model representation. Fashion is for everybody. If you sell the size, create the representation. If you don’t sell the size, consider everyone you’re leaving out due to styling limitations. Because there aren’t bigger darker folks of the size of trans experience in the fashion world, I have done my best to curate spaces to highlight my love of fashion and style. I have worked with LGBTQ+ brands like DapperQ, Qwear, and the Stud Model Project, and am the lead stylist for the bklyn boihood collective. For me, in order to see myself, I have to be brave enough to put myself out there. Fashion for me is ancestral and the way I adorn my body is a means of celebration and survival.
- If you could change one thing about your favorite Big & Tall brand what would it be and why?
- Create more opportunities for people of trans experience to see themselves in your brand. We are worthy of representation. Representation and visibility is life-saving for queer and trans communities of color. So, be more open to having diverse representation of all sizes and heights.
- Tell us about your worst shopping experience? And why ?
- Honestly, going to malls is always a high-stress experience. I have to wonder, will they have my size? Will I be able to find a tailor who’s worked with trans bodies before? I have been misgendered in spaces, especially early in my transition and those moments stick with you for life. I remember a few years ago, I was shopping online at one of my favorite stores, ASOS, and they did not have any bigger representation but they sold the sizes. This has shifted in recent years but I see a number of brands selling sizes but then not having bigger bodies display those sizes on their website. How am I supposed to know how it might fit on my body? Am I not worthy of representation? How can I know what’s possible if I don’t see what’s possible?
- What’s on your fashion bucket list?
- I want to be signed to a fashion agency and model for big fashion houses. While I have walked in New York Fashion Week, I would love to get experience in other fashion weeks, including going abroad. I would love to model for DXL and Savage X Fenty. It would be a dream to be featured in a Savage X Fenty show.
- How did you get introduced to the world of Big & Tall fashion?
- My father is a bigger guy, so I remember going shopping with him at DXL and department stores. I used to love watching him get tailored after picking out a suit. Then, as I got older I realized how there weren’t people who looked like me in magazines, fashion shows, or in the media. When I started working with bklyn boihood, I was so inspired that they had representation of all body types in their calendars. I knew once I came on as a stylist and a collective member I wanted to keep that momentum going.
XL Tribesmen Tribesmen Of The Week Van Bailey
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May 8, 2022