Goth style to wear with pride

Jay Bailey and Micah Xiang model Pride Dunedin’s T-shirts. PHOTO: AMANDA KONIJN
Jay Bailey and Micah Xiang model Pride Dunedin’s T-shirts. PHOTO: AMANDA KONIJN
A public swimming pool is not an obvious location for a Dunedin gothic-inspired fashion shoot, but Dunedin Pride could not be happier with the results, finds Rebecca Fox.

Lounging around the swimming pool, Jay Bailey and Micah Xiang look suitably goth as they model a fun pair of T-shirts designed to raise awareness and funds for Dunedin Pride.

Dunedin Pride is a volunteer-run organisation which aims to support and connect the city’s rainbow community and the photo shoot "Cyanide and Plastic" is its latest initiative.

Secretary Trak Gray says a recent re-branding of its services saw the organisation focus on connecting members of the rainbow community, and the success of its major event Dunedin Pride Month in March was a validation of that change.

Gray and chairperson Max Wolfgram came up with the idea of designing T-shirts in an effort to raise funds for further activities.

"Lots of us have backgrounds in fashion and Dunedin has such a cool fashion scene — we thought it would be a nod to that."

They also wanted to test the waters of Dunedin Pride’s new website and its capability for the group to raise funds through the sale of further merchandise in the future.

Gray and Wolfgram themselves have a design label, so they knew the process.

"We then looked to bring in other designers and artists so we could show off how creative our people are."

The concept started with conversations about the reclamation of words within the rainbow community such as queer, once a derogatory word.

PHOTO: AMANDA KONIJN
PHOTO: AMANDA KONIJN
"We thought, ‘what else has been reclaimed?’."

Soon they had decided on designs referencing the animated television series Rugrats’ Barbie Doll parody Cynthia and The Addams Family’s Wednesday.

"She [Wednesday] sums up what it feels like to be a gay kid so well. It was fun to play with those ideas."

To reference Dunedin they also included a small DP logo in the city’s trademark gothic print.

"It was fun to hide gems in the images."

They then thought they needed to show off their T-shirts so got a team of creatives together, including photographer Amanda Konijn, do a special photo shoot.

"We were inspired by gothic Dunedin, how the city’s fashion is so varied and interesting. We came up with the concept of goths at the swimming pool and thought we’d see what happens."

The Dunedin City Council aquatics team was very supportive in allowing the group free-range at Moana Pool.

"We had a fantastic time shooting."

Gray hopes the T-shirts will be a success and one of many collections to come, as well as being a way for the organisation to be more sustainable.

All proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts goes back into helping Dunedin Pride support the rainbow community.

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