‘When I go into work and someone’s like: ‘You’re wearing girls’ nails!’ I’m like: ‘My nails are pink because I painted them pink, and fuck you.’
On the day of Chris’ interview, they brought with them an incredible outfit that they created themselves from scratch using recycled materials. The main event is a 1920s-style dress made from old fishing net and is accompanied by some white jelly sandals and a pair of earrings made from shells and bottle tops. This ensemble was the first that Chris ever crafted in this way and was made especially for Sink the Pink’s quarterly queer ball. What Chris loves about the Sink the Pink ball, a clubbing experience with drag performance, is the atmosphere; everyone there is happy and dressed up to the nines, looking amazing. ‘It’s empowering to know that you can wear what you want and nobody is remotely gropey.’ For Chris, who is non-binary and identifies as queer, this is an important ensemble because they wore it to a place where they felt they could wear whatever they pleased. ‘I guess I’d see this as an outfit only for a queer space.’
Unfortunately, Chris’ experience of making their way from the event to the tube station in the early hours of the morning was a far cry from their positive start to the night. ‘It was a horrible wake-up call. We got some verbal abuse. The first part of the night was amazing wearing [this outfit], and then there was this shock back into having to feel careful about what you’re wearing.’
Now, Chris makes a new outfit for a queer event every couple of months and enjoys how it enables them to dress in a totally unique manner. ‘This is dressing purely as self-expression, with no need for any practical quality of the garment. Obviously you’re warm, and you don’t need to cover up. It’s not a uniform for work and there’s no restriction on what gender it identifies as.’ This sense of creative freedom that Chris feels is largely thanks to Brighton, they tell us. ‘Being here gave me a lot more confidence to dress how I wanted to… Brighton helped me.’
Today, Chris describes their style as ‘offensively pastel’. In their view, the most confrontational way for a male-assigned person to dress is in a hyper feminine manner. Paradoxically, the softer and pinker the outfit, the more people seem to find offence in it. In a nutshell, their general way of dressing is ‘glamorous and ridiculous at the same time.’ ‘Maybe I’m a bit of an attention-seeker,’ Chris laughs. But, they add, in the words of Quentin Crisp, ‘It’s not enough to be queer; you’ve got to be seen to be queer’.