Queer teenagers in the US are being offered the chance to wear a custom-made, designer prom outfit, in celebration of all gender expressions.
Designers Sharpe Suiting and NiK Kacy are encouraging high school students to share their views on why gender expression is important – as well as their ideas for a dream prom outfit – in a short video clip.
One winner will be chosen to receive a complete prom outfit, designed to their specifications.
The competition, known as the ‘Love Fellowship’, is named after Louisiana teen Claudetteia Love, who in 2015 fought for her right to wear a tuxedo to prom.
Initally, she was barred from attending in ‘masculine’ attire, and planned to boycott the prom until her school changed their minds following a media backlash.
‘The Love Fellowship celebrates the inclusion of all gender expressions,’ the Love Prom website explains.
‘Historically prom, an important right of passage for high school teens, has upheld rigid gendered expectations.
‘In support of all the teens challenging gender norms, the Love Fellowship annually chooses one teen to receive a complete prom outfit tailor made to match their gender identity.’
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Wu said: ‘Hand delivering that custom Sharpe burgundy tux and matching shoes provided by NiK Kacy to Love’s house and seeing her face when she tried her prom outfit on for the first time was one of the highlights of my career so far, and it reminded me, yet again, of why I founded Sharpe in the first place.’
‘High school is a time in a person’s life when they start exploring who they are going to be and how they are going to express themselves.
‘How are they seen in the world? Will the world accept them for who they are?… Forcing youth to conform to rigid male-female gender expressions that don’t accurately reflect their identities nullifies this celebration.’
He added: ‘We should be striving to nurture individuality and creativity, and understand that each expression of self is valid.’
A winner will be chosen after February 15th.