We have queer fashion icons to thank for breaking barriers and challenging the status quo, so that we can wear the clothes we feel most represent us.
During June Pride Month, we wanted to give back to the community that has influenced so much of fashion and take this opportunity to demonstrate our values in action.
We ran an Australian wide initiative to contribute $10,000 towards the tuition of one LGBTQIA+ creative fashion student. Overwhelmed with the level of responses and thoughtfulness, creativity, and authenticity of every applicant – it was no small task to narrow down to just one aspiring creative.Watching Blake’s submission video educating us on his story and reading through his answers on what impact he hoped to make on the fashion industry, Blake brought the room to happy tears with his vulnerability, creative aspirations, and the broader impact of social change he hopes to make through his designs.
We couldn’t be happier to announce Blake Sutherland as our 2023 Pride Scholarship Winner and are excited to watch the creative career ahead of him.We sat down with Blake and wanted to share a little more about his story, creative influences, and impact he hopes to have on the future of fashion.
Who was your greatest LGBTQIA+ influence and why?
“My greatest LGBTQIA+ would have to be my friends or my chosen family. I left home at 19 because it was no longer safe, and moved to the city where I was able to meet a multitude of queer people I never knew even existed. Finding people with the same experiences and values allows us to find acceptance in each other but more importantly in ourselves. I feel like all the best parts of me are pieces of these people I've grown with through adulthood”.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the creative fashion industries?
“I think creativity has always been such an innate part of my process in life. I loved to draw and play with dolls as a kid so that kind of imaginative play was the base for it. I'm always drawn back to the process of creation. To express my thoughts and experiences to the world through the way I've seen it kind of transcends any form of expression to me”.
What impact do you hope to make on the fashion industry after you graduate?
‘I feel like in Australia specifically, the industry is generally suited to one type of person of one type of experience. In order to make massive social change and join the rest of the world in being as progressive, we need to start presenting broader and more expressive’ ideas and concepts to our own community. I would love to show people things they'd never imagined and be able to carve out a path for myself and people like me’. Clothes are part of our society, but they’re also part of our identity. And we’re here to empower, support and inspire self-expression and acceptance. During the month of Pride, behind the scenes at DISSH we decorated our walls with framed imagery and annotations of impactful LGBTQIA+ icons. We made special (delicious) deliveries, provided some light coffee table reading from LGBTQIA+ authors, hoping to inspire creativity and curiosity throughout the team and most importantly: spread the word on why we, within the fashion industry, have queer icons of decades past to thank.
At DISSH we believe the most important fashion statement is inclusivity and our proud to celebrate the next cohort of our industry disruptors.