I see myself focusing on similar themes of queerness in all of my work, but hopefully blurring the boundary between fashion, textiles, and art.
We sat down with budding designer Noah Pica. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, he's changing how we perceive gender and sexuality through clothing. Noah's foray into re-inventing menswear has caught the eyes of many. His designs have been featured at New York Fashion Week and the CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase. Today, he talks about his new project, #1DAD, his inspirations, and his influences.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, just south of West Hollywood. My parents still live in the same apartment that I grew up in, so I still call it home even when I'm on the move.
What got you into fashion design?
I have always been interested in clothing, but I became initially fixated on the fashion industry when I realized the connection people have to their garments. People admire fashion both in the comfort of their own homes and in the fantasy of the publication world. Once I noticed how much clothing meant to people, I knew it was the best place for me to showcase my thoughts.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I usually look to my friends. I'm sure I get some indirect inspiration from the fashion I consume, but I tend to focus on the clothing of those closest to me. One my muses is my best friend, Nicholas Grayson(Niki). He has such a witty personality that its hard not to feel inspired. I use my loved ones' wardrobes, belongings, personality traits, and other signifying factors to get a sense of who I want to wear my clothing. From there, I just start experimenting until it feels right.
What experiences in your life influence your photography?
I always leave the photography up to others. Although I snap some photographs myself, I usually ask people I feel a connection with to either take the photographs or help me take them. Even if they are not professional photographers, I tend to like when others take control of the photographs so that my garments come to life.
Tell us about your most recent project, #1DAD.
#1DAD was a huge step in my process of making. I started by analyzing male relationships, focusing specifically on the oddities I often feel when interacting with other men. I noticed a fear of vulnerability and a lack of emotional intimacy in my relationship to masculinity and made this collection to deconstruct these shortcomings. I used the classic tailored shirt as a representation of "perfect masculinity". I altered its traditional form and used a combination of fabrics, seaming, and trims to create an alternative wardrobe for queer people who do not fit a traditionally "masculine" mold.
What did you want to convey through #1DAD?
I want #1DAD to question "masculine" dress, creating a wardrobe for those who do not fit the mold. I hope that people feel a sense of whimsy when they engage with the garments. The collection is meant to feel desirable while questioning traditional ideas of gender and sexuality within fashion.
What are your opinions on gender, race, and sexuality and how do they show up in your designs?
I believe that the fashion industry has significantly more progress to make when engaging with people of differing gender-identities, races, sexualities, and body types. It is my hope to engage othered people as much as possible, supporting bodies that do not fit the traditional mold. I intentionally designed #1DAD for people who could relate to experiences in my queer life.
What do think of the world of fashion and its connection with social issues and day-to-day life?
Fashion is more than playful attire. It is a representation of the greater community, and it has societal implications that cannot be forgotten. I believe that a close analysis of our daily dress can reveal so much about our present feelings, future desires, and past longings.
What is the future of fashion and design?
I think the future of fashion is queer. The fashion industry needs to center queer people, people of color, people of different gender-identities and sexualities, people of all body types, and people of different religious practices and beliefs. It is vital that the fashion industry acknowledges our global shared histories and begins to focus entirely on the people who are not getting the representation they deserve.
Where do you see your design projects going down the road?
I see myself focusing on similar themes of queerness in all of my work, but hopefully blurring the boundary between fashion, textiles, and art. I hope to be doing many different projects as a maker that engage my mind in different, important ways. I hope to collaborate with other creatives, too, who can help create an honest dialogue between artists and designers.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
I hope that #1DAD brings you a touch of joy in your life.
Collection: Noah Pica
Photographer: Porsche Little
Model: Kemi Olukanni
Stylist: Christina Campagna
A big thanks to Offshore modelling agency.
Marina Ali is a student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is a staff writer for Brown Girl Magazine, the features editor for Drunk Magazine, and the social media manager for TMO Media. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, you can find her picnicking in pastoral East Texas, crafting for her sorority sisters, or making food.