This week I had a chance to chat with Sonny Oram, founder of Qwear, a fashion blog that celebrates the styles of queer women and trans and non-binary individuals. Sonny is a co-chair of this year’s Keshet Cabaret, which takes place Saturday, Feb. 28, at Club Café in Boston.
What’s the scoop on you and the Keshet Cabaret?
I’m a co-chair of the Keshet Cabaret planning committee this year. I’ve been going to Keshet events for years, since I moved back to Boston from college. Keshet does outreach to organizations to make them more LGBT-friendly. They do incredibly supportive work. I love the annual Keshet Cabaret and am happy to help an organization that helped me so much. I remember when I was about 12 years old, Rabbi Rim Meirowitz from Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester—he just retired last year—brought in a copy of Bay Windows and taught us about the newspaper, New England’s largest publication for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender readers, and the organization. I wasn’t yet out, but felt really comforted that I was part of a supportive community.
This year the Cabaret tickets have been reduced in price from $175 to $36. We want to include as much of the community and its allies as possible. The old price was a lot for young people, and now the event will be a scene for young people. It will be very clubby. One of the raffle prizes is a personalized style consultation with me and JoJo Jacobson. The consultation will be split between an in-home look at your wardrobe and a shopping trip.
You’re a trained musician. How did you end up as a professional fashion blogger?
Well, sort of! I went to Oberlin College for viola to become a professional performer. During school and afterward, my interests shifted. I started designing websites for performers. I did a lot of identity clothing shopping in the men’s section. And my blog just grew and grew. It became the center of my life. I’m self-taught!
“Queer.” “Dapper.” “Trans.” These are some new terms for many of our readers. Can you help explain them?
“Queer” used to be derogatory, but it’s been reclaimed by the LGBT community. It’s an umbrella term for someone not straight, or trans or non-binary. It’s a useful term because it doesn’t box someone in. “Trans” means anyone who doesn’t identify with the gender assigned at birth. Some might be “non-binary” or “not gendered.” It’s also a really useful umbrella term. It’s the opposite of “cis,” which means you identify with the gender assigned to you at birth. “Dapper” is something we didn’t change, but adopted. A lot of people are assigned the female gender at birth but prefer to wear men’s clothes. It’s a button-up style, very 1950s. If you’re looking for an example of it, dapperQ is a fantastic blog redefining menswear.
I noticed a tag line on your website that says your blog is “for anyone who can rock suspenders.” Are suspenders your thing?
They used to be. You’re referring to an older tag line. The idea is it’s a blog redefining gender norms. It’s a fashion blog for queer women, non-binary and trans individuals, and for anyone who loves them.
Four questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!