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FASHION A 'Peach' of an event inspires queer fashion
by Vee L. Harrison

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Black Thread Agency is a cultural marketing and events agency based in Chicago. The agency has hosted a series of events throughout the year since 2017—such as Peach.

Peach is an event series and brand that was started in Chicago and is dedicated to bringing together and celebrating queer individuals, women and femme family through great music, good food, and even better visual entertainment.

"The purpose is to amplify voices including friends, family, the culture," said Bre Auberry, president of Black Thread Agency. "We focus on our passions. We take on projects that many other companies will not take on. There aren't many entertainment agencies catering to queer women."

On Aug. 11, Black Thread hosted one of its infamous Peach events, "Pound the Alarm," a queer ode to Carnival. Around the world, Carnival is known for its celebration of culture and tradition. People flood streets wearing some of the boldest, brightest designs and exude a sense of freedom and belonging at these festivals.

And the Chicago version of Carnival wasn't any different. Nearly 1,000 locals joined together for an all-day festival of Market Days. The event was a pivotal moment for the queer community to takeover the streets of North Halsted dancing, celebrating, and embracing their freedom—with fashion.

"Carnival is the second event in our larger series this year. Its an event that we are doing in partnership with Party Noire. This is a very specific event that celebrates the POC [person of color] community."

Auberry believes that people of color in the queer community are often abandoned when it comes to self-expression.

"The point was to take some of these events, flip it on its head and give it this queer oath," said Auberry. For the POC community, our coming out experiences are not quite as easy as others. When it comes to POC families, they have the hardest time coming out to their families and truly being themselves and embracing who they are. Sometimes for them, it isn't safe to come out."

It's no coincidence that the rainbow symbolizes the queer movement. The event featured bold colors, bright chiffons and silks, sparkles, sequins, glitter, feathers, beads … the list goes on! Drag queens, dancers transgender and queer models took over the streets with their unapologetic high heels and audacious outfits.

Fashion in the queer community is a staple that truly expresses freedom and wellness. Often facing social judgment, those who associate with the queer community seeks outlets to express, to be themselves, and to flee all forms of judgment. This festival was a safe place, but the fashion had no boundaries.

"The dancers were costumed with feathers, jeweling, bras, and the headpieces. We showcased traditional Carnival styles so that the theme could really come through. Showing off skin and being as free as people wanted to be, being themselves was all a part of the Carnival theme," said Auberry.

Since the queer community is oftentimes censored, societal judgement usually dictates what they can and cannot wear, in many cases. When it comes to the Carnival culture, however, this isn't the case.

"When POC wear it, it could be looked upon a certain way," said Auberry. "The fashion is part of the culture, part of what you're wearing and part of your personality. We gave people a space where they can see people who look like them and are dressed like them in the same space."

The motive, however, isn't just a good time with likeminded people in the queer community. The purpose is deeper, and it defines how fashion and queer lifestyles intersect to create freedom in the queer community.

"The whole purpose is to not just be a party or a dance party, but it's an experience," said Auberry. "Since Carnival has such this large celebration of life and being your authentic, true self, it really embraces sexuality regarding what people are wearing. There's a lot of celebration that comes with that.

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