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LGBTQ designers reflect on pride month, protests and equality


Designer Jonny Cota at home in Los Angeles.

Designer Jonny Cota at home in Los Angeles.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

What does true equality mean to you when you consider the Black Lives Matter movement and the rights of the LGBTQ community?

True equality resembles equality of access, equal treatment and equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, sex, sexuality and socio-economic status. In Los Angeles, this means that equal access to community and health services for all is paramount and that equal treatment before the law without racial prejudice or prejudice is absolutely essential.

Equality means that for all lives to count, the lives of blacks must be given priority and the livelihoods of blacks are no less precious to the police, educators and employers than their white counterparts. Equality means that as a gay, trans, black or marginalized person, the social contract you have with your environment, your community and your authority is identical to the agreements shared by the dominant population in the same environment.

What improvements do you want to see in the fashion industry?

As a queer designer, I want to see LGBTQ models and images celebrated more than they are fetishized. I want to see gay pride inspired products out all year round rather than just during pride month. I believe that a fundamental aspect of queer power is bodily positivity and the appreciation of all bodies, and I would like this to be more organically integrated into the fashion imagery that we see in our magazines and on billboards. display. I want to see the diversity of fashion normalize rather than the strategic brand image.

Looks from the Jonny Cota collection, which is available at Amazon.com.

Looks from the Jonny Cotas collection, which is available at Amazon.com.

(Studio Johnny Cota)

How have the Black Lives Matter events inspired your work?

Seeing the images and hearing the chants of protests from social media, news sources and from all directions I turned to was one of the most exciting and galvanizing moments of my adult life. It would be impossible for me not to integrate this inspiration into my work. Next season will be inspired by the revolution.

Empowerment and equality are inspirations par excellence in my work as a stylist and mandatory practices in the management of my business. As a small business, each contribution of my team is an important element in the growth of the brand. And throughout my 12 years in downtown Los Angeles, my success has been absolutely made possible by the diversity of black, brown, Asian, gay and trans voices of my team working together. I strive to shoot each campaign with a solid mix of diverse cast, direct my brand imagery with bold and powerful voices and even incorporate political calls to action on my clothes, including parts who say Radical Feminist and Rise des to the top. I’m a streetwear designer on the sometimes harsh streets of downtown Los Angeles. And here below, the palpable energy of fighting for equality, representation and advancement is a way of life.

What are you working on?

I’m working on the launch of my new concept store, Jonny Cota, at DTLA line this summer. It will be a physical space, celebrating the launch of my eponymous label, after winning the Amazones Making the Cut design competition.

I am building a contactless and socially distant retail experience that turns a store into a showcase and replaces the clothing shelves with purchasable art installations. The world is a different place after the ordeals felt in 2020, and this project is an opportunity to build something in a radically new image.



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