Photographed by Marie Tomanova
Dress Code is a new photo-interview series exploring identity and personal narrative through fashion, style, and self-expression. This installment features Lexa, a drag artist based in NYC.
DRØME: How do you identify?
Lexacon: Complicated question. I find that the more I experiment with drag and feminine clothing in general, the more I see my reflection slowly changing and becoming more androgynous. That said, I still identify as male. But I fear complacency, and I hope that I will continue to keep asking myself this question. With luck, my answer will continue to change.
How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
My style borrows from drag culture — androgynous rock stars like Bowie, and the more masculine women of classic Hollywood like Dietrich. When I approach a look, I like to incorporate aspects from different genders to create a queer amalgamation. Each look ends up defying labels, which I always strive to do because sometimes I feel like my designations are constricting me.
What makes you proud to be who you are?
I am so proud of the queer history that has shaped my aesthetic. Looking back at queer icons, the rebels who went against the heteronormative status quo to create a beautiful counterculture, reminds me to be grateful for those that came before me and hopeful that I can add to this narrative.
How do you use style/aesthetic as a tool to explore or express your identity?
Drag gives us the opportunity to rebel against what society says gender is or should be. Through a radical style evolution, I emerged realizing that the fashion rules that we cling to are unnecessary and imagined. Growing up gay, I learned that my identity is an act of rebellion against heteronormativity and now I am starting to realize that my androgynous aesthetic is an insurrection as well a survival tool in this straight world. It's scary to present something the world is not comfortable with and yet I find it inexplicably exciting at the same time.
How has the way that you express yourself through fashion changed over time?
Coming from one of the most "WASP" towns in the country, I was raised in a world of seersuckers shorts and needlepoint polos. My exposure to queer culture and fashion was so limited that I could not even fathom the idea of a man in a dress, let alone think that it was acceptable. My internalized homophobia kept me locked behind pin striped jackets until I found fabulous and extravagant individuals in heels, boas, and corsets parading through my Instagram feed. Appreciation turned to curiosity, then to experimentation, and before I knew it, the opulence that is standing before you came into existence.
One piece of clothing/accessory you can’t leave the house without?
Lipstick. Even if I am not wearing it, having the power to put it on at any moment is
sometimes the rebellious moment I need that day!
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.