With less-than-subtle wardrobe choices, Mindy Dawn Friedman (aka @DapperMindy) – visual activist – nudges space for masculine-of-center and gender-nonconforming people to encourage a more open-minded and compassionate world. Her playful, authentic and purposeful fashion lets people know that closets are for glorious clothes – not shame or secrets. Her master plan to inspire and celebrate diversity through visibility – to be seen so that all of our voices can be heard out. When she is not out there pushing the boundaries of fashion, she works at InterContinental Hotels Group where she was a founding member of IHG Out & Open -- their LGBQTIA employee resource group.
Over time I have become more bold and fearless in how I step into style. There was a certain holding back I allowed to impact me out of fear of societal judgment. I was out in all aspects of my life and yet still felt held back in this one arena. I started to realize that how I present myself in this world visually is a form of visual activism – dressing in a manner that inspires and engages connections with people to drive visibility, awareness and social change for the LGBTQIA+ community. Though at the bottom of it is a release of authentic joy. My style is an integral part of everything I am and keeps me excited to try to add something new to the greater dialogue.
I owe a lot of my awareness and growth to NiK Kacy of NiK Kacy Footwear. After initially supporting their KickStarter, NiK and I bonded in a true bromance which thrust me head first into the queer fashion scene. Knowing that there were amazing trail blazers on the front lines working to solve our fashion problems that society has neglected for so long energized me.
I became aware of the unique needs and challenges that also faced these businesses. Serving the community in the most responsible ways isn’t cheap. It’s why the only times I choose to pay retail for fashion is to support these amazing businesses. It helps keep their doors open, keep creating, and as need and demand grow – those who can afford to spend will help drive prices down.
Style and fashion is absolutely a part of my personal brand wherever I go. I am proud to be a part of a beautiful community of activists who lead with love and are always looking to move the immovable – and inspire dreamers to action.
Never to be pigeon-holed, I enjoy mixing dapper style with street style. Any outfit that plays without or outside my comfort zone requires foundational pieces that can live comfortably regardless of how they are paired. My Kirrin Finch shirts all fit into that category.
The Kahlo shirt with its joyful florals has been a staple as Spring dances onto the horizon. It gave me the extra confidence to finally break out my Dsquared2 military style blazer in style – a soldier for human rights and visibility. To give it more of a street sizzle I decided to break out my Scotch & Soda leather pants. I may be 50 years old – but I’ve not let a lot of other arbitrary rules dictate whens and wheres for how I dress. For a little whimsy – I also wore my Air Jordan 1s – boy’s size.
There is a certain whimsy to balancing a traditional style with non-traditional details. For example – the Oakley shirt is one of the best fitting shirts. I love the elbow patches and button-down collar to better secure a bow tie. The fit of the blazer with working buttons and fully functional pockets allows me to drop in a pocket square. And the lapel is a perfect home for my ‘never leave home without it’ Rainbow flag/American flag pin. My floral Atticus Atlas (lesbian-owned) bow tie is a beautiful addition to complete the look.
This outfit rides the line between serious and provoking. I was going for a vibe of college professor who doesn’t need to say she’s woke. My Kirrin Finch blazer is the linchpin of the look. The red checked Scotch & Soda slacks are not to be denied in bringing the heat. When it comes to shoes that I love that also support small queer owned businesses with missions of supporting the community and quality production (like Kirrin Finch), I proudly wear my NiK Kacy Footwear brown and blue derby shoes.
We hope everyone can get a little style inspiration from Mindy's bold fashion choices and feel confident to stand out from the crowd.
Style Blog: dappermindy.com
Soldier of Love photos taken by @stevewestphoto