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Alok On Why Their Personal Style Is Political

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In every print issue of BUST, we talk to a fashionista about their personal style. In our June/July 2018 issue, we talk to Brooklyn-based artist Alok (@alokvemenon). 

Tell me about this outfit.

I designed the [“Some of my best friends are cis”] T-shirt dress with one of my friends in New Delhi. I wanted to highlight the ways people tokenize trans people. The leggings are thrifted. The platforms I found on Amazon, some generic brand; they make me feel really strong. As a trans person, I get policed for taking up space. I love wearing huge heels to take up more space, to say, I have a right to be here. The cape I designed, it’s called “Cruella.” The earrings are from a store in India called People Tree. The socks are from Happy Socks.

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How do you describe your style?

Constantly evolving, open to interpretation, and curious. My fashion and my style are ways to create and express what freedom and liberation can look like.

How has your style evolved?

I’m getting more comfortable with not caring what other people think about me. So much of the way we dress is because we want other people to validate us. I used to dress because I wanted other people to validate me. Now I dress for myself, and that’s given me more confidence to pull off pieces.

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Is your style political?

I use aesthetics as a way to express my political views, and my politics as a way to express my aesthetics. I’m making the argument that not only is it possible to be non-binary, but it’s also beautiful to be non-binary. I really advocate for beauty and fashion as a way for historically oppressed communities to come in to our own self-love.

Where do you draw your style inspiration?

Instagram! My style cues come from other trans and gender non-conforming fashionistas from across the world. I feel like we are no longer reliant on mainstream fashion and models to get our cues of what’s stylish. We’re all part of a global movement. Empowerment can’t happen alone—you have to have other people who build you up. 

Take up space with Alok’s bold picks:

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1. MRI Socks, $8.40, happysocks.com
2. “Sapphire” Blue Glitter Liquid Lipstick, $13, prettyzombiecosmetics.com
3. Qozmo Hi–Pastel Platforms, $150, yru.life
4. “Dave” Heels, $180, shopsyro.com
5. ASOS Embroidered Lemon Tee (not shown) and Legging Pajama Set, $38, asos.com
6. Painterly Skirt, $159.20, gormanshop.com.au

By Cricket Epstein
Photographed by Seher Sikandar

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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