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Our Pride Muse: Alok Vaid-Menon

Alok Vaid-Menon is an American writer, performance artist, and media personality who performs under the moniker ALOK. Alok is gender non-conforming and transfeminine and uses singular they pronouns.

How did you first enter the world of fashion?

Fashion was one of my first languages. I grew up in a world that said that people like me didn’t exist – one where there were no words to describe what I was and what I felt. So I used clothing to communicate on my own terms. I’ve been involved with fashion in various capacities since then, but at the core what keeps coming me back is a commitment to visual storytelling. Mobile poetry.

What would you like to see from the fashion industry in regards to making clothing more inclusive and less dependent on gender binaries?

I’d like to see the degendering of fashion and beauty industries. This means rather than marketing “women’s clothing” or “men’s clothing,” the industry offers “dresses, pants, skirts.” Individual people get to interpret what these articles of clothing mean to them. Let’s get better and more accurate with sizing and measurements on tags, and lose the stereotypes.

How would you describe your style and how has the construction of gender in society influenced your sense of style?

My style is continually unfolding. I like to surprise myself. What ties everything together is a commitment to being visible, unapologetic, emotional, and whimsical. I’d like to think I get dressed without paying attention to gender. It’s irrelevant to my creative process. I wear what I want to wear, regardless of gender norms. In fact – I find that gender norms can be one of the biggest impediments to style.

How do you think companies, specifically in the fashion industry, could better support the LGBTQ+ not only during Pride, but year-round?

Sometimes it feels as if we don’t even exist to the fashion world outside of Pride. So often what happens is our design work makes it to the mainstream, but rarely are bodies. I’d like to see LGBTQ+ people – and especially gender non-conforming people – integrated at all levels of the industry and all levels of culture writ large. That means recognizing that Pride is year-long.

How are you celebrating Pride this year/any plans?

I’m reuniting with some of my closest trans friends for a getaway. Celebrating and adoring on them for all that they have gifted to my life, and to the world.