Photography by Erica Hernandez
Dress Code is a new photo-interview series exploring identity and personal narrative through fashion, style, and self-expression. This installment features Lennox Bishop, an artist and student living in Los Angeles.
How do you identify?
I identify as a queer, white passing Latinx (Mexican) womxn.
How would you describe your style / aesthetic?
The best word I can come up with is "honest". My style changes a lot month to month and even day to day. I really wear whatever is the truest expression of self I can offer the world at any given time. Lately I have been working to navigate the political nature of my clothing choices as a queer womxn and as someone with Latinx heritage who benefits from white privilege. Clothing choice is so political, it's complicated, but I have also enjoyed the process of self evolution so much.
What makes you proud to be who you are?
I am proud to be who I am because I’ve been through a lot of shit and really put in the work to heal, think critically and deeply, and allow myself to change and grow. I wouldn't be who I am without the care, support, and teaching of some incredible people, and I am also so proud and thankful for them. I come from a conservative Christian background that damaged me a lot, and I have been unlearning and relearning for a few years now. I am proud of my ability to hold the nuance of life with care and thought. I am proud to be queer and to be learning what that means everyday, proud to deal with public scrutiny, questions, and both positive and negative attention centered around being bald due to having Alopecia.
How do you use style / aesthetic as a tool to explore or express your identity?
I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't trying to work out some aspect of identity through my clothes. I remember working hard to attract the male gaze in middle school and recognizing that wearing a tight shirt could contribute to the attention that I thought I wanted. Now, I am learning what it looks like to subvert the male gaze by wearing whatever the hell I want to, which is more difficult than I thought it would be. People who are socialized as girls from a young age are taught to lust after the male gaze, much to their detriment. That cuts deep in our social understanding. I have been working to ask myself what I want from an outfit; lately I find that my answer is to feel comfortable. Some days I want to wear lots of makeup and a brightly colored shirt because the sun is out and I want to mirror the way that it makes me feel; or maybe I feel like being bright because I am feelin' confident that day. Some days I want to wear all black and no makeup and be less feminine. Both of these are me. I have learned so much about gender and self expression since publicly acknowledging my queerness, and the political nature of clothing has been an inherent tool to navigating it.
How has the way that you express yourself through fashion changed over time?
In eighth grade, I was voted "best dressed" for essentially wearing a rainbow of colors every day. I leaned hard into embodying the "manic pixie dream girl" stereotype. In high school, I toned my clothing down and tried to be as "cute and innocent" as possible. I didn't know how to balance all the damaging Christian rhetoric around female purity and all that entails within the church. I lost my hair my junior year of high school and that changed the way I thought about my clothes a lot. Suddenly I was getting stared at constantly and treated so differently. Most of my style evolution since that time has been me trying to come to terms with just being myself in the face of immense amount of unwanted social attention. I remember being so terrified when kids would ask their parents if I was "a boy or a girl", and now I embrace that moment as much as possible. I am not scared of androgyny anymore, I take it as a compliment. I am a people pleaser by nature so my style these days is truly an expression of the inner challenge to dress for myself. I am also learning how to pay homage to my Latinx identity without culturally appropriating, which is a complicated balance.
One piece of clothing or accessory you can’t leave the house without?
White Nike athletic socks. I just moved to LA from Seattle and the only thing that has remained consistent in my wardrobe is the socks. I saw a lot of good outfits made complete by those socks and I told my friend Hannah I loved them — they bought me six pairs for Christmas (shoutout to Han, you rule). Unless I'm wearing sandals (and even when I am wearing sandals sometimes, #srynotsry), those babies are on my feet almost everyday.