Photographers: Matthew Leifheit
Stylist: Miyako Bellizzi
Hair: Alex Andrade
Make-Up: Jess Plummer
Models: Claire Christerson, Alana Nuala, Leah James, Martine Gutierrez, Dese Escobar, Richie Khan, Erin Meuchner, Mars Hobrecker, Lizz Jardim
Of all the women who've adopted the pantsuit as a symbol of their empowerment (from Katharine Hepburn to Grace Jones), presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is without a doubt the two-piece's biggest champion. This makes a lot of sense considering that when American women usually break into a space typically dominated men, they do it in a pantsuit. And what space has been more exclusive to men than the Oval Office?
That's not to say that we are blind to Clinton's record. She has a troubled history with the LGBTQ community, extending from her husband's misguided support of the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell to the 2016 candidate's recent statement that Nancy Reagan helped start the national conversation on AIDS (a claim she has since walked back). However, when we started to develop the idea for this shoot, we weren't thinking about Clinton's politics specifically. We were thinking about her as a symbol for challenging the notions of conventional gender norms, one which we could appropriate and reimagine.
The truth is, despite the very real prospect of a woman taking the White House next year, there are still many more glass ceilings to shatter. The gender struggles in the United States aren't just relegated to cis white females. Instead, they extend out to the entire queer community, including trans men and women. As such, we wanted to honor the spirit of defying gender norms and take it to its fullest extension by casting models exclusively from the LGBTQ community to reclaim the symbolism of Clinton and her pantsuit.
What's beautiful to us about this shoot is that the images exhibit a strength through the fluidness in gender identities represented, showcasing a new kind of power dressing that breaks down the binary that's held us all back for so long.