Local Artist Builds Community Through Queer Clothing Swap in Pasadena

By Alex Cordero

Allegretti Mural Photo
Julia Allegretti presents Queer Clothing Swap at Art Center in Pasadena as part of Euphoria exhibit that features empowerment in the queer, transgender and non-binary communities in Los Angeles. – Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

Julia Allegretti is an undergraduate student at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena and hosted a queer clothing trade on Monday as a way to connect with the community by sharing journeys in a brave artistic form.

“When I came out as [transgender], I started transitioning my wardrobe to better express my gender identity. Building a new style from the ground up was expensive, and I was left with a full closet of old clothes I didn’t know what to do with. I started trading them with my friends, then wanted to try to bring it to a more community-oriented scale.”

Allegretti explained that the clothing trade is part of a bigger exhibition titled “Euphoria.” The exhibit features a transgender resource guide, mural and photo series.

Allegretti clothing swap
– Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

Allegretti shared a quote from the artist: “‘Euphoria’ is a show that strengthens the queer, trans, and non-binary community of Los Angeles. By sharing intimate yet common experiences and desires, we strengthen our bonds and help struggling individuals feel less isolated, thus building social and personal connections. Providing community resources reinforces a larger collective network, alleviating roadblocks one may face when living as a trans person in Los Angeles County.”

Allegretti’s artistic presentation of the clothing swap also featured a mural, a wall full of local trans resources in the area and a photo series of Allegretti’s homage to feminist artist Ana Mendieta.

The photo series homage to Mendieta displayed Allegretti’s experience of applying a full-grown beard that was donated by a close friend.

– Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

“I always wanted to grow and have my own beard,” Allegretti said. “I wanted to feel what it is like to have facial hair; thanks to a dear friend of mine I was able to do that and the experience was incredible.”

Building a new wardrobe can be costly and sometimes people often end up with a lot of clothes they no longer feel it represents their gender. Allegretti discovered these types of challenges can be addressed with trading clothes.

“Rebuilding my closet was really hard on me financially. I struggled to budget for all the basics, trying to account for everything from boxers to jackets.

“Changing from women’s to men’s sizes was confusing for me. I spent a long time trying to decipher and translate sizing charts I was unfamiliar with. Sometimes, I would feel uncomfortable shopping in the men’s section because of stares or comments.”

Allegretti’s brings communities together by creating a safe space to swap cloth with no judgment or boundaries and teaches others how to do so.

“I am in the process of making a public guide for hosting clothing trades. This free to use resource will include customizable promotion materials as well as instructions for organizing and hosting events. My hope is that by giving others the tools to host their own clothing trades, we may give everyone a safe place to pursue a comfortable gender expression.”

Allegretti continued, “By doing a clothing swap and sharing part of my story I want people to know they’re not alone and by bringing us all together can make us stronger.”

Allegretti desires to create more safe spaces for people to explore apparel that better represents their gender identity, implement the social aspect of it, save money and help the environment by trading clothes in any community.

March 5, 2020

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Alejandra Cordero

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