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“My weapon of choice is transformation.” 

Clothing line w3b st4r is unleashing a new standard for the fashion industry: one that is anti-binary. Whether it’s a casual polo with a tactile edge or a protective hoodie that hugs, the “fabric meets hardware” designs embolden any look from all gender expressions. 

The brains and sewing machine behind the operation is Sol (they/them), an eclectic queer creative living in Los Angeles, California. Earlier this year, I had a chance to visit Sol at the w3b st4r headquarters. I was greeted by a hoodie with spikes, a skirt with chains, a refined suit jacket with their signature w3b chained cut outs,, and a fresh pot of strong coffee. Their workshop was lush with imagination come to life, as if Sol was designing for self-love. 


I grabbed the suit jacket and practically lost my voice when I looked in the mirror. It wasn’t the screaming (or maybe it was), but the tears that welled inside my throat. I felt as though the jacket was made specifically for me. The vision, the construction, and everything in between left me speechless. Feeling free, I proceeded to dance around half naked, too excited to put pants on. 


When you make the choice to live your life as yourself, it can be equally liberating and terrifying. And as someone who is genderqueer, finding clothing that fits me literally and metaphorically can be challenging. I asked Sol about their own journey to freedom. 


“I was just living uncomfortably because I thought everyone else was,” they told me, frankly. “Like, is not everyone walking around with a rock in their shoe?” 

When Sol came out as trans, their creativity bloomed. “It’s that moment of realization,” they continued, “that there IS a lane for me. That’s why trans-erasure and queer erasure are so deadly. I literally went 23 years of my life without seeing myself in the world.”


As we sat down with our coffee I noticed the table had metal spikes lining the rim. I looked at Sol and they giggled, bashful. Enhancing the world around you by putting more of yourself in it is nothing short of brave. “We need to invite each other into ourselves,” Sol told me. 


With the exception of items that sport a printed graphic, all of Sol’s pieces are one of a kind. The former stylist specializes in customization, working with their clients to create an outfit that becomes an extension of who they are. And when Sol met fellow queer creative Joy, their inner worlds exponentially bloomed. 


“Joy pushes me, pushes my limits, which I love.” They said. “ don’t think I would’ve just made that piece on my own.”


Sol and I FaceTimed Joy from the spiked coffee table. Together, the friends told me about the two piece set they designed together, complete with web-chained windows into our private parts. Joy, a musician and performer, had sent Sol a make-shift illustration atop a Victorian statue to express their vision. 

“I really wanted a cool outfit to perform in. I think the last time I performed [in a] a bikini top…my tits flew out.” Joy said they imagined an outfit that could take back the power of the nip-slip, revealing what’s meant to be hidden. “It was kind of cool to have an outfit that’s like – bro, these are my tits. They’re out and they can’t get any more out.” 


“And they bite back.” Sol said with a wink. 


We all laughed. Joy continued: “To have someone carve something out of cloth and metal to fit my body how I want it to be…I feel cherished in a way I wouldn’t with random store bought clothes. It’s alchemic.” 


Joy described that at their initial fitting, they too felt that visceral liberation. “It was as if Sol had spun our thoughts into hardware and it turned into something energetically protective.” Empowerment was woven into “the lace and chains that shield my body, yet reveal my parts.”  


A clothing line is an experience that has the power to change your day, your week, your life. Because our experiences are based on how we’re perceived, we don’t exist without each other. We have to experience it together, and that is precisely what makes these types of collaborations so special.


Now, Sol and Joy are collaborating on a music video set for release in late Summer. 


“There is no higher feeling of safety when you know you’re fully understood,” Sol says. “And this is exactly why I make clothes. I feel very blessed.” 


Story by: Ari Tibi Photo Credit: @sadiejspezzano




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