RuffleCon 2016: Feminism in Practice

In the often hyper sexualized world of fashion, RuffleCon stands out as a paragon of appreciation for femininity and craftsmanship. Billed as an alternative fashion conference, this con finds itself at a unique cross section of showcasing feminine and masculine style. Being able to enjoy a fashion show with well-made garments completely targeted at feminine people of all genders with a love for fancy dress is such a beautiful experience. Each person onstage and in attendance carefully curated their outfits as masterpieces. The three days were packed full of varied, inclusive, and exciting fashion shows and panels with programming tailored to unique variations on a common theme: Ruffles.

Lolita, a fashion founded upon feminine beauty and aesthetics, has many subsets, one being a masculinized version called Ouji. This style gives way for male, masculine presenting people, or people with masculine affinities to be part of feminized fashion. Ouji is generally seen as an accessory or accent to the feminine counterpart. While the con does favor Lolita style and subculture, it affirms styles ranging from visual kei, shironuri, steampunk, faery, and pirate to witchy fashions — each of which often crossover. The key criterion at RuffleCon is individuality, so there are no holds barred!

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Within alternative fashion, femme presenting people can find themselves on the receiving end of masculine aggression. It can be disheartening, uncomfortable, and stifling. RuffleCon, however, is an entirely safe place for expression. There is care taken in every space. The event is curated and staffed by a majority of feminine presenting people which eliminated essentially all of the misogynistic aggression that may have marred the experience.

Panels and fashion shows were shining examples of diversity and body positivity. Beyond the diverse selection of styles and brands, the models selected by each brand reflected the con’s acceptance of various lifestyles, gender identities, body types, and ethnicities. Panels like Drink & Draw, a 21+ activity where models pose in their underwear for a room full of admiring individuals, exemplified the same kind of inclusion.

Personally, as a queer, trans person of color, finding places that are accepting can be difficult, especially in alternative fashion styles. RuffleCon contradicts that. There was no break in the affirmative culture RuffleCon works to uphold. So gather your ruffles and get your life at RuffleCon 2017. I’ll see you on the runway!

Check out RuffleCon’s official Twitter @RuffleCon and Instagram @rufflecon_official. Browse through the #RuffleCon tag on any social media to see the styles and vast array of people at this year’s RuffleCon.

Photo Credits: Lila Eponymous; Bio image from upcoming Slutist Tarot, by Morgan Claire Sirene