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During a time when holding hands with a member of the same sex was illegal, the Stonewall Inn was perhaps the only place in NYC where drag queens, trans women of color, LGBTQIA+ homeless youth, gay men and lesbians alike were permitted to express themselves freely…

…but not always safely. The NYPD frequented the Stonewall Inn, performing raids that often ended in multiple arrests. Typically, the bar’s patrons succumbed to the police’s pressure, but in the early hours of June 28th, 1969, something changed.

Rather than disperse, the Stonewall Inn’s patrons fought back. This response sparked 6 nights of riots that would ignite the flame of the gay rights movement. Over 50 years later, it is still ablaze.

We were lucky enough to speak with 2 LGBTQIA+ owned brands who are continuing the work to make the world, specifically the fashion industry, a more inclusive place. Here are those brands’ reflections on the Stonewall Uprising.

Stuzo Clothing

Stuzo Clothing creates bold, thought provoking designs on gender free apparel, “because clothes don’t have any organs last time we checked.” We spoke with Stuzo Clothing’s Founder and CEO, Stoney Michelli Love, about what pride, and the Stonewall Uprising, means to her.

What does pride mean to you? 

“Pride, to me, means the platform to express your inner freedom.  Although we celebrate all year, Pride ignites a special kind of joy that radiates brighter than usual.”

Have stories of the Stonewall Riots impacted your life?  If so, how? 

“The Stonewall Riots have definitely impacted my life as well as others.  It instilled a sense of pride and honor in me— seeing those brave souls risk their lives and freedom for what they believed in.  I couldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for them.  I’m truly grateful for their fight and existence.”

What do you think we can learn from the Stonewall Riots today?

“I think we can all learn to stand up for what we truly believe in.  We can also learn that together, we can conquer anything.”

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Peau De Loup

With menswear tailored for women’s bodies, Peau De Loup is changing the definition of femininity. Their upcycled, androgynous-style button downs, denim, outerwear, and more are fit for all bodies with curves, regardless of a person’s gender-identity.

What does pride mean to you?:

“Today, pride to us at PDL is so much more than a celebration for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is about love, acceptance and honoring Inclusion and diversity for all. It is a stark reminder that even though we have come so far, we still have a long way to go as a society. We will continue to honor ourselves and our community by pushing the boundaries of the status quo in genderless fashion.”

Have stories of the Stonewall Riots impacted your life? If so, how?

“The stories of the Stonewall Riots speak to the power of visibility as well as strength in community. The confidence that can come from seeing examples of other humans who are ‘different’ like you, is unmatched. At PDL we take inspiration and motivation from the spaces where we have felt misunderstood. We hold those feelings close and use them as motivation to create products that can hopefully help others feel like their authentic selves, and feel like they have a community behind them.

What can we learn from the Stonewall Riots today?

“There are many variations of ways to exercise LGBTQ+ liberation and we believe that creating space for inclusive and accessible fashion is definitely one version. One big learning is that the work is never done – there is always an opportunity to push for a more inclusive and supportive world.

We understand that as PDL we are only one small brand, but we are determined to remedy the existing binary systems in retail by working in collaboration with large retailers, and other brands, who share the same passions and values. It goes back to the simple principle of organizing to create a louder collective voice and in turn,  more power.”