Down the sidewalks of Bushwick, Brooklyn, strut Henry Bae and Shaobo Hon, the founders of Syro, an Instagram store that makes heels for males. The factor is, you don’t want to have the ability to stroll within the heels so as to buy them. All it’s a must to do is unconditionally, unreservedly love your self in all kinds — particularly the femme one.
While Bae and Hon are not any stranger to the eye that comes with sporting heels, the boldness they stroll with precludes any notion they need to be in the rest. After all, refusing femme oppression and liberating femme expression is their motto. It’s why their very existence is resistance. And it is what cause them to forged predominantly queer folks of colour in the entire model’s messaging. From their Instagram to their e-shop, which boasts shoe types named after the boys who bullied them rising up — see: Dave, Bruce, Chad, Kevin, and so forth. — Syro’s help for the minorities they draw inspiration from is tenfold.
At a time when the trade is something however an professional on gender (sorry, however it is true), the paradigm of id versus expression — and the way our garments match into it — is extra convoluted than ever. That’s why it is best to let our clothes — and the individuals who put on them — do all of the speaking. In entrance of the digicam, Syro’s founders, together with their fashions Parker Kithill, Cody Jue, Anaury Pena, and Andy Lopez, mild their femininity with fireplace as in the event that they’ve by no means been instructed being a boy who wears heels is not regular.
Refuse femme oppression. Liberate femme expression. Heels for males.
Why did you begin Syro? And how did you land on the model’s mission?
Henry Bae: “My first job out of college was in the footwear industry. It dawned on me that ‘men’ with large feet like mine had very limited (read: nonexistent) choice in regards to femme footwear. When the time came that we decided to create these shoes for ourselves, it was clear that our very existence would be our mission. Femme expression and representation is Syro’s mission.”
Recant just a few experiences the place sporting heels was each a optimistic factor and a destructive factor.
HB: “The notion that my heels are a ‘daring’ style assertion does not register till I go away the home and stroll three blocks to my nearest prepare station to get to wherever I am going. Along these three blocks, I’ll get consideration. Some inquisitive stares. Some teenage boys laughing. Some teenage ladies yaaassss ing. I am fortunate to say my model has by no means landed me in bodily hazard, however the consideration does strike me. I take pleasure in expressing myself with style, I take pleasure in my pals’ feedback — however consideration from strangers at all times makes me uncomfortable.”
Shaobo Han: “The more people stare at me, the more powerful I feel. Maybe I am delusional, but I confront danger head-on. Hoping to exert as much presence as possible; to show an obnoxious level of confidence (even if that confidence is false) that will deter possible altercation. Last week, some European tourists gawked at me while I was sitting on the train. Instead of hiding my heels, I extended them. And as the train approached my station, I got up, walked as fiercely as I could, twirled, and exited the train with my head held high. If you think you can make me feel uncomfortable, you’re better off to think again. I never let someone else’s narrow mind affect my sense of self.”
The extra folks stare at me, the extra highly effective I really feel.
Describe the training strategy of sporting and strolling in heels out of your very first pair to now.
HB: “The first pair of heels I tried on were a joke. They were seven-inch heel-less glitter Mary-Janes, if that even makes sense; Lady Gaga-like psycho shit. I wore them for Portland Pride four years ago, and my feet were mutilated by the end. My Syro shoes that I wear on the daily now in New York are designed with my wide feet in mind. They’re good for the club, but practical for the grocery store. My older gay friends warn that I will ruin my knees by 40. I wonder if they’re right?”
SH: “It was definitely a learning curve. My first pair of Forever 21 black platforms were unbearable. I wore them for Pride when I was 21, and the heels were so painful that I switched to emergency flip-flops for the rest of the night. It’s important to be smart about wearing heels. I have my go-to easy heels and then I have my stunting, cab-to-curb statement pieces.”
How do you resolve when to put on them, then? Is there anyplace you would not put on them, because of security causes or gown codes?
HB: “It just depends on the outfit. Heels are heels. It’s not so profound; we should simply have the option to don femme footwear if our clothes, the weather, our moods, or whatever, call for them. My mom thinks I’m crazy, but I’ve worn heels to gay bars, straight bars, courtrooms, grocery stores, venues, banks, restaurants, dumpling shacks — you name it. In my dreams, femme expression is just another normalized piece of this fun thing we call ‘fashion.’ Why so serious?”
What about Syro’s boots do you assume elevates the gender expression dialog? And how are they a pioneer within the heels-for-men area?
SH: “Typically, heels for large feet are fetish, S&M, or drag-queen centered — which is perfectly fine — but Syro strives to normalize heels for any time or occasion. Day or night, private or public space. Syro provides queer boys and transwomen the option to wear femme footwear that adapts to their everyday lifestyles.”
Paint the image of the second the boldness increase from a pair of Syro heels hits. Where are you, what else are you sporting, how does it really feel in your coronary heart, and so forth.
HB: “Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack. That beautiful, elegant sound. My walk, my movement through space — punctuated with sonic femininity. The juxtaposition of this sound against my boyish presentation. It feels crystal-clear. It feels correct.”
SH: “When I wear heels, I feel power. My back is straight, my ankle is stretched, my head is high, and my hips sway.”
Heels are simply one other colour in my crayon field of style and elegance.
Is your relationship to heels extra necessary than some other clothes/accent? If not, what function do they play in your life and in your closet?
HB: “Of course not. Heels are just another color in my crayon box of fashion and style. Growing up, I was equally forbidden from heels, as I was from jewelry, makeup, dresses, and wigs. Now, as a more self-actualized version of myself, I enjoy playing with all the colors of the rainbow. I have many D.I.Y. accessories, wigs, and makeup tricks that are just as invaluable to my femme expression as our Syro heels.”
SH: “For me, being queer is an active choice — to reject patriarchal masculinity, to object whiteness, to challenge gender norms, and to celebrate femininity. Everything I consume from media to music, art, and also fashion, attributes to my queer expression. Heels play a very important role as a tool to express my queerness.”
Any frequent reactions you get from folks in public whenever you put on them?
HB: “Teenage girls like to make a big spectacle of my shoes when I walk by. They scream and shout, and I feel their support, however exaggerated or performative. Most men will stare, shamelessly, with a dull expression of disbelief. Some men (typically men of color) will tell me, simply, that they like my shoes. ‘Love those shoes, man,’ some guy said to me at a corner deli. It didn’t feel sarcastic, and it didn’t feel communal either. It felt like simple validation from a masculine guy for being femme, which I found encouraging — although unsolicited and unnecessary.”
SH: “Call me delusional (all of my friends do), but all I see are eyes of envy; envy that I broke through the narrow definition of masculinity. I am lucky to live in New York City, where I get not only negative but also positive reactions.”
After a while and routine inclusion in a single’ on a regular basis wardrobe, can heels truly floor you?
SH: “Wearing heels is an active statement. It is both my armor and shield against patriarchy. I don’t think it grounds me, I think it actually does the opposite. It enables me to be larger than life, and for others to see that femininity should be celebrated.”
What can society do to de-stigmatize and de-satirize the boys sporting heels phenomenon?
SH: “It will have to start with our own community. There is (still) a lot of stigma within the gay community about heels. Not all gay spaces are safe for gender-nonconforming queers and transwomen. Everybody needs to do the leg work if we truly want to ‘normalize’ femininity.”
HB: “This gender war is rooted in misogyny. Women can wear pants, and button-ups, and power suits; masculinity is for everyone. But femininity is conditional to being a woman — because how could a man in our society possibly benefit from being femme? The two are not equal. Toxic masculinity proves that men are also hurting, and suffering, from our harshly gendered society. Will gender and sexuality be understood as separate entities? Will straight men ever wear heels the way straight women wear trousers? Perhaps when femininity and masculinity are both understood and appreciated for their complimentary, non-mutually-exclusive merits.”
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