Happy Pride!
To celebrate Pride month, we thought we’d do a little digging to find out more about an important moment in time that shaped modern Pride: The Stonewall Riots. These riots began in 1969 when The Stonewall Inn, a bar and tavern in Greenwich Village, Manhattan favoured by queer and transgender individuals was raided by police twice in one week. At the time, homosexuality was illegal in every American state except Illinois, and police were able to arrest and even forcibly institutionalise gay and lesbian people. On the night of the riot that began six subsequent days of protestation for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, bar patrons fought back against the police’s raid, sparked by historical figure and LGTBQ+ champion Marsha P. Johnson’s proclamation that “I got my civil rights!”. While Stonewall is not the origin of Pride and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, it is a significant historical event that has remained in the forefront of the LGBTQ+ community’s consciousness. Each subsequent year, on the anniversary of the riots, demonstrators gathered in American cities to celebrate Gay liberation and freedom, as well as hightening visibility of this much marginalised community and the importance of their rights. In recent times, the Stonewall Riots are commemorated each June, as part of a wider celebration of Pride Month. 

Pride month was initially created to celebrate people who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer, but soon expanded to include those who are intersex, asexual and gender fluid. It is a time for visibility, education, discussion, celebration and commemoration of LGTBQ+ history, current events and issues. 

This year, it may feel particularly auspicious to be celebrating Pride Month so soon after an intense and ongoing period of civil unrest across the globe due to the horrendous murder of George Floyd and the wider mistreatment and discrimination of Black and POC members of society. However, it is good to remember that throughout history, moments of upheaval and discord have often paved the way for incredible change and progress. This year’s Pride Month mirrors the original turning point forLGBTQ+ rights, The Stonewall Uprising –where riots and protests created awareness on a scale never before seen– of the problems and injustices society was imposing on marginalised groups. This awareness stirred the pot of change and real strides have been made in the time since for better respect, care, representation and understanding of LGBTQ+ groups and individuals. 

In honour of Pride Month’s 50th anniversary, HEW Clothing is so excited to have the opportunity to speak to music producer and Drag Queen Steven, a.k.a Dirty Versace, who was one of our runway models from our A/W 2020 Slow VAMFF presentation. We asked them a few questions about his processes for his many creative projects.

Pride Month

Why Dirty Versace? What do you think Dirty Versace stands for?
DV enjoys the luxuries of life but she's not afraid to get down and dirty; she stands because she can't sit down.

kendrick dress
How was Dirty Versace born?
The one good thing that has come from 2020 was the birth of DV and it was no immaculate conception. Born from the depths of queer club drama and sassy dance moves, she came forth into this world to BEAM OUT her RAINBOW LIGHT BEAM.

You are a music producer - Has dirty Versace influenced your music? Or vice versa?
yes. BUTTT I don't want to say too much... this is under wraps baby!
How does experimenting with colour and makeup inform the Dirty Versace persona?
Experimenting with makeup and looks, looks, looks is everything. I'm not DV without my Born This Way, Gaga inspired red lipstick and my usual sky-high eyebrows. I've also been blessed to werrrk with Janelle Carr and Uff Queen in my makeup transformations.
 make-up Janelle
What do you love most when you become DV?
The FANTASY! I feel so free to let my inner child beam out unrestrained. She feels FIERCE!
Spinning in dress

What are some challenges you faced when developing DV?
Learning how to do my makeup!! That was the biggest thing. I'm still learning, growing and developing my makeup skills.
film  film dirty v
Through your music and your Drag you are very much a performer- how do you engage with your audience online in response to COVID-19.Do you have a strategy to keep the conversation going or do you like to keep it organic?
During COVID-19, I went away from the light for a bit to focus within. But after a period of personal growth and exploration, I did a few live streams to share updates with my music and drag journey. But until now, I've been in the cocoon!
pride makeup
film tracksuit
Featuring Dirty Versace 
Photographer: David Tatangelo
Style and clothing: HEW and Ema Hewitt