On an unseasonably chilly November day final 12 months, I walked right into a images studio in Greenpoint. As I approached, nerves started circulating all through my physique — I’d been in photoshoots earlier than, however this may be my first shoot with a make-up model.
As I entered Brooklyn Grain Studio, I used to be greeted by Isabella Giancarlo, Laura Kraber, and the faint scent of hair spray. Each of them buzzed with a tangible pleasure, glitter twinkling on their cheekbones and eyelids. We walked previous the picture set, the place a bunch of Black and Brown fashions stood earlier than a brightly coloured backdrop. A sense of heat instantly washed over me, my nervousness disappearing as shortly because it got here.
Giancarlo and Kraber are the founders of Fluide, a brand new magnificence model that describes its merchandise as “colourful, cruelty-free make-up for all gender expressions, gender identities, and pores and skin tones.” In November, Fluide was nonetheless a nascent concept, one which introduced collectively a bunch of fashions, creatives, and collaborators (myself included) to carry the imaginative and prescient to life. Just some brief months later, Fluide had already grow to be a actuality.
Within the brief time because it hit the market, Fluide has been difficult lots of the preconceived notions of what make-up — and the manufacturers that create it — can, or ought to, be.
Genesis of a Queer Magnificence Model
The pair first had been launched after the well being and wellness e-commerce firm Kraber teamed up with the artistic company the place Giancarlo was a strategist. Earlier than Fluide, Giancarlo labored in design, artistic technique, and dabbled in typographic cake-making whereas Kraber labored within the start-up sphere and as a nutritionist. Nevertheless, each handled sexism and undervaluation all through their careers: “By the point we met, we had every reached our breaking level and felt impressed to create one thing for ourselves,” Kraber says. “We had been motivated by the will to construct an organization that at all times places people first.”
Initially impressed by her kids’s altering conversations round gender and id, Kraber was interested in how completely different manufacturers had been coping with these cultural shifts. Each Giancarlo and Kraber felt the world wanted extra manufacturers that addressed the shifting panorama of gender, and the 2 shortly realized that magnificence was an incredible place to begin.
I used to be shocked there wasn’t a queer magnificence model already. I believed,
‘Wow, this does not actually exist — possibly we are able to create it.’
“Once I began trying into various kinds of magnificence manufacturers and various magnificence manufacturers, I used to be shocked that there wasn’t a queer magnificence model on the market,” Kraber tells Attract. “I believed, ‘Wow this doesn’t actually exist — possibly we are able to create it.’”
Neither Giancarlo nor Kraber had a background in magnificence, however their journey with Fluide served as a crash course. “With neither of us coming from the sweetness area, we had been capable of method Fluide with an open thoughts,” Giancarlo explains. “[We were left] open to create the sweetness area we needed to see, versus being restricted by what has been performed earlier than.”
Kraber provides, “Once I was a child, there was this concept that make-up was one thing that coated your flaws or made you look presentable — the concept that no one is born trying ‘ok’ and also you want make-up to make you acceptable.”
To make certain, lately magnificence manufacturers have slowly began abandoning conventional taglines and narratives. Greater than ever, manufacturers are empowering people to take management of their very own identities and types of expression. Nevertheless, regardless of these advances, the sweetness trade stays a homogeneous area, one that also lacks illustration of the various nuanced identities of makeup-wearers world wide.
“It’s nonetheless white, heterosexual, cisgender girls who’re represented by [beauty] campaigns,” Kraber tells me. “We needed to characterize individuals who haven’t been represented.” For that reason, Fluide has taken it a step additional in striving to heart particular person and communities who’ve historically not been prioritized by magnificence manufacturers — primarily Black, Indigenous, and different folks of colour (BIPOC), in addition to queer, trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary folks.
Giancarlo and Kraber had been additionally adamant about creating an natural aesthetic for the model, casting for fashions in on-line queer areas — which is the place they discovered me, in actual fact — and scouting actual folks on the streets and within the subways of New York Metropolis.
Valuing Illustration and Engagement Over Tokenism
Zellie Money, one in all Fluide’s unique fashions who Kraber met on the C practice, felt that working with Fluide gave her a way of validation and normalcy. “I’ve at all times needed to be a mannequin however by no means thought I had the search for it. I used to be excited to simply really feel fairly like a traditional lady,” Money tells Attract. “Individuals stereotype us [trans] women right into a field and count on us to be all the identical, [but] all of us come in several sizes and shapes and all of us have a narrative that has formed us.”
Fluide has additionally collaborated with queer activists resembling Tourmaline, and just lately named Jacob Tobia because the face of its latest Uncuffed lipstick line. Along with centering queer folks in its magnificence campaigns, Fluide additionally works with queer photographers, stylists, make-up artists, and allies every time potential, and donates 5 % of all proceeds to organizations, such because the Sylvia Rivera Regulation Undertaking and Callen Lorde, that work to empower the queer group.
In Fluide’s early phases, Giancarlo and Kraber crowdsourced concepts for merchandise, shades, and product names, guaranteeing they acquired numerous opinions from inside these communities, and immediately, all of Fluide’s nail polish and make-up shades are odes to queer areas world wide together with C’mon All people, Home of Sure, and Secret Undertaking Robotic.
“Basically, the sweetness trade provides me plenty of anxiousness about my gender and about my physique,” Tobia tells Attract, who provides that queer and gender-nonconforming style is usually co-opted, whilst these communities stay marginalized.
“Working with Fluide felt so completely different as a result of I knew, getting into, that the entire level of the model is to have fun gender-nonconforming and queer folks like me,” they proceed. “The fashions and activists that [Fluide] works with, the queer those that they’re in artistic collaboration with, are such a departure from enterprise as common within the style trade.”
Working with Fluide felt completely different as a result of I knew the entire level of
the model is to have fun gender-nonconforming and queer folks like
Michael Gabrielle, one other one in all Fluide’s fashions, echoes Tobia’s sentiments, additionally calling consideration to the truth that magnificence and style have profound impacts on a tradition that repeatedly enacts violence on LGBTQIA+ communities.
“As a gender-nonconforming individual, I’ve had verbal slurs and beer bottles thrown throughout streets, jokes, and insults made about my garments or nail polish or eyeliner,” Gabrielle says. “Making a model that breaks down stereotypes round who can put on make-up and the gender tropes sure our bodies are anticipated to carry out may help to shift heteronormative narratives that engender hate and violence.”
Fluide is greater than only a colourful, aesthetically intriguing model; it’s, in some ways, a treatment to a world that’s — and at all times has been — inhospitable to girls, LGBTQ+ folks, and folks of colour, particularly trans girls of colour. For members of those teams, magnificence requirements have lengthy been cruel, however for a lot of trans and nonbinary folks, conforming to society’s aesthetic expectations typically feels not possible. And, although Fluide continues to be a fledgling model, it has already managed to place a couple of cracks in the established order.
Making a model that breaks down stereotypes round who can put on make-up and the gender tropes sure our bodies are anticipated to carry out may help to shift heteronormative narratives that engender hate and violence. “[Fluide is] exhibiting queer folks specific themselves queerly as a substitute of straight folks reflecting queer aesthetics,” Giancarlo says. “To see folks put on our merchandise and really feel heard and seen and really feel like a model of themselves that they’re proud of is the most effective present we may get.”
“Make-up performs a really intimate position in folks’s lives, and most of the people who put on make-up see it to some extent as armor — make-up [can] assist us specific ourselves in opposition to the cultural expectations upon us, which regularly need to do with race and gender,” continues Kraber. “It’s caring for your self and loving your self within the face of a world that possibly doesn’t present you that you just deserve that.”
Imagining a Queer Future
In the end, Giancarlo and Kraber now know that Fluide empowers folks with the instruments to see themselves how they wish to be seen. Up to now, the model’s reception has surpassed what the pair initially believed was potential. “We get essentially the most lovely DMs [on Instagram], folks [telling us] how they’ve by no means felt seen by a make-up model earlier than — listening to that’s so extremely motivating.”
I walked into the shoot and instantly thought, ‘That is it. That is
the form of world I wish to stay in.’
And these emotions are definitely not remoted: To me, collaborating with Fluide has been a profound expertise. It is not solely offered me with an opportunity to enjoy my very own queer, blended id, I’ve additionally been given a glimpse right into a future the place queer and in any other case marginalized persons are not afterthoughts, however priorities.
“To be in a room filled with empowered queer folks with all types of lovely gender expressions and identities being photographed and celebrated was overwhelmingly highly effective,” Gabrielle says. “I walked into the shoot and instantly thought, ‘That is it — that is the form of world I wish to stay in.’”
You’ll be able to store Fluide’s make-up on fluide.us, or take a look at the model’s weblog for magnificence inspiration, interviews with LGBTQIA+ people, and extra.
Learn extra about gender and sweetness:
Why this 50-year-old mannequin loves being referred to as “good-looking”:
You’ll be able to comply with Ludmila Leiva on Instagram and Twitter.