Allie is the Director of People Operations at Change.org, a model, and a youth tennis coach. Cai is a creative, photographer, model, and community leader in Brooklyn.
First off, how do you use style and fashion to express your identity?
AS: I’m playing dress up all the time, and style for me is a way to escape. Being able to dress according to a scenario, feeling, period of time - that’s what makes it fun. It’s like New York - always changing. I can’t believe I used to think that I had to dress only one way as a queer person, but I’ve completely unlearned that. Now, I’m super intentional about who I am and what I put on my body. So if I’m dressing down in baggy jeans and a t-shirt, that’s intentional. If I’m letting my bra show, that’s intentional. If I’m in lipstick and a curve-hugging dress, that’s intentional. It’s all a show!
CC: I use style and fashion as a key to expressing myself, conveying whatever mood I’m in, being the words I can’t express. I play with a lot of pieces and trends that highlight my masculinity but simultaneously compliment my femininity. My stylistic expression as a non-binary person has only increased my love of fashion because of what it’s able to provide me by simply getting dressed.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing that you currently own?
AS: I’m obsessed with hats right now - does that count? Baseball caps, trucker hats, and bucket hats really elevate an outfit. It’s also summer in New York - gotta protect my skin!
CC: My favorite piece of clothing I own right now is a pair of paint-covered, baggy, classic Dickies construction jeans. I get the absolute most compliments on them, too.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing that you wore for today's shoot?
AS: The pink leather dress was everything. It was the first thing I got to put on and I felt powerful, sexy, and RICH. It set the tone for such a fun shoot.
CC: My favorite piece was, of course, the floral printed gown by Monique Lhuillier. Wearing that gown around the sunny streets of Brooklyn so casually with heads turning, I felt like I finally got my "Sex and the City "moment.
And lastly: what is your favorite part about shopping second hand?
AS: I love that I can discover new styles and get really curious when I thrift. It’s really fun to get lost in secondhand shopping. I also admittedly have found myself shopping online to find something quickly, and I don’t know enough about where the products are coming from. I don’t have to feel that way when I shop secondhand! I’m much more thoughtful and I feel better about my purchases.
CC: [Shopping second hand] usually comes in clutch when I need something really quickly and affordable— but I do love the convenience of looking online. I think thrifting is more exciting when you find a piece that’s deadstock and you get to now have it. It feels like finding something rare.