Hats go off to Rainbow Fashion Week Executive Producer E. Jaguar Beckford (Jag), who takes not more than a second of down time in the city that never sleeps. A fashion designer, entertainment lawyer, music industry veteran and CEO of Jaguar & Company Clothier (Jag & Co.), Beckford manifests like a storm. Her company mission statement: “Reach One, Teach One.” In 2013 she birthed a landmark event in fashion history: “Rainbow Fashion Week” (RFW) an LGBTQIAA fashion week featuring 8 days of casual and formal wear designed by LGBTQIAA fashion designers and stylists, held in New York City. Two years and 25,000 attendees later, RFW 2015 joined the ranks of official “Pre-Pride” events named by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, an accolade acknowledging the importance of a queer-centered fashion week highlighting the talents of seasoned, hard-working queer creatives – from the designers, stylists and models (both human and animal), to make-up artists, DJ’s, photographers, and other artist-entrepreneurs who take social justice seriously.
As a fashion designer, Jag designs vintage-chic, upscale, urban clothing that stands out from the rest. Her signature “Paper Boi Suit” enhances the masculine beauty, strength, and elegance of the studs, trans, gender-queer LGBT, and cis-gendered clients whom she adorns. Dapper and gender-non-conforming are definitely terms which describe the models she sends down her runways. With a full range of creative talent, Jag also designs styles which emphasize the strengths and values of her feminine-presenting clients, drawing on a global sartorial vocabulary, querying conventional notions of racial identity, sexuality, class, gender and agency.
Filmmaker J. Lufair Brown’s beautiful cinematography and editing of Jag & Co’s runway modeling at the VERGE 2015 is briliant. Props to you, Mr. Brown. Thanks for permission to share this with our readers!
Last year we learned about Jaguar and Company Clothier when attending Dapper Q’s landmark “(Un)Heeled: A Fashion Show for the Unconventionally Masculine” held at the Brooklyn Museum. We took a minute to interview this multi-talented, hard-working fashion activist, as a show of support and appreciation. Check her out — and get your bespoke on with Jag & Co. at the opening of her storefront in Brooklyn this November 14. (see her FB for details!)
Q & A INTERVIEW with JA
G & COMPANY CLOTHIER
Queerture (QT): Hi Jag. Tell our readers Rainbow Fashion Week.
JAG: Rainbow Fashion Week (RFW) was conceptualized in June 2013 and we hit the City running June 20-27, 2014. We brought to New York City and introduced to the United States the first Inaugural 8 Days of “QUeer Fashion Shows.” It was “not your average fashion event” so we presented inter-seasonal collections; “Resort/Cruise (for Spring/ Summer) as well as Pre-Fall (for Autumn/Winter)
QT: You must meet so many interesting people!
JAG: Yes. Awesome LBGT Designers from Australia, South Africa stylists from Florida, Atlanta and California, Child Runway Models, Doggie Couture designers, models, runway coaches from all over the U.S., performers, City Officials, wonderful shoppers at the West Elm surprised by our in-house Rainbow Pets Fashion show.
QT: What have been some highlights of Rainbow Fashion Week for you?
JAG: Probably the Pet Fashion Show firstly. Then the fashion designers and producers Bling my good friend Ginni and her wonderful Assoc Sofie, coming halfway from around the world to participate in our 2nd annual RFW 2015.
QT: What kinds of jobs do people in the queer and LGBT communities do at RFW?
JAG: Wow that’s such a big question, but the short answer is everything. Marketing. PR. Social Media. Runway Coaching. Styling. Make-up and Hair. Production Assistants. Model Coordinators, finding talent locally to rep their States, shop. enjoy great and different fashion expose.
QT: What’s it like to do fashion events in New York?
JAG: Fashion in NY is tricky. We’ve done it all and we’ve seen it all. So if you come with fashion…it better be good. no great, interesting. fresh and innovative.
QT: Have you done fashion outside of New York?
JAG: Yes. Ghana. South Africa, Benin, Nigeria, Algiers, Aruba and Spain to name a few places.
QT: When we met, you said you worked your way through law school by designing clothing. Did law balance fashion design out or vice versa?
JAG: Fashion fed my creative urges. I draw, so out came my sketch pad. It definitely balanced out law, when I needed a break, I pulled out my cans of stones, rolls of brass and copper wires, pressed wood and made jewelry. Or I rummaged through my craft materials and spot on made something to go out in. I created a stencil, bleached jeans and drew afro-centric art…
QT: What was it like to be a creative person in law school? (share a sneak peek of Jag & Co. designing as a law student). 🙂
JAG: I was pretty nerdy. Still am. I was and still am very introverted (believe it or not), I’m an ambivert, so it was easy to come in my creative self, it allowed the extrovert in me to shine. I would make long, swinging cloaks, but the have corduroy shorts, socks and Birkenstock on..Or I would paint up a jacket and jeans and hide behind my bejeweled sunglasses in class.
QT: Who does the current queer fashion r(e)volution include as you see it? Would you describe it in a vision?
JAG: IT MUST INCLUDE ALL. It is the only way we can unify as a community. Everyone is part of the fashion revolution. There should be spaced made for all those we shun. That’s why I did a show called PhotoViews: Shifting Identities (an in depth view of the trans world). And, Queer Kids Next Door..taking the word QUeer and empowering our kids with it. When we exclude..we become participants of mainstream society.
QT: How did you get into the business of masculine fashion attire consultation?
JAG: I am the CEO of Jaguar and Company Clothier/JagandCo for short. I launched my line 2013 and came out the door running. Because of the many celebrities I have worked for and with, my connections were pretty broad that opened doors many new designers would never see. 2014, I said every “creative” should have an opportunity to shine in the fashion world, not just the designer and the model. If not for that fierce hair stylist, that dope azz stylist that makes the designers outfits breathe life, the hair stylist that creates a “do” to die for……that runway show would be VERY TIRED! That’s what my very first show taught me. but for those talents behind the scenes, I would not have hit the ground running. So Rainbow Fashion Week was designed with these “behind the scenes talents in mind” offering them their very first time to shine and or take their careers to the next level.
QT: What’s a typical “Jag & Co.” style consultation like?
JAG: I destroy all rules and allow the client to see a different perspective. I ask them questions, by putting things before them. Socks, shoes, jackets, hats, caps etc., and say pick a sock. Now pick a shoe. now pick a pair of pants, now a shirt. It throws them off. Then I show them that I made the sock the “statement piece” and said build around that. Most people start with their pants, and build around that. It’s just a different way of looking with what piece of clothing to be inspired by.
QT: What kind of results you have seen in your clients.
JAG: Grrreat.. I love to see clients post pics…It means they are building confidence in their decisions.
QT: So, When is RFW 2016 —
JAG: June 17-24, 2016
QT: and will you be having a dog fashion show again?!
JAG: Definitely, Rainbow Pets is an annual event.
Thank you, Jag. Can’t wait to see those pets and your gorgeous models on the runway next year!
How to reach Jaguar & Company Clothier:
Company website: http://www.jaguarandcompany.com/
Jag & Co. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jag-Co-415630005196078/?fref=ts
Rainbow Fashion Week: http://www.rainbowfashionweek.com/
Pretty Boi Couture: https://www.facebook.com/Prettyboicouture-by-Jagandco-1392378931019535/