David Siferd has a way with words. The founder of unisex streetwear label Goddess has shown tops emblazoned with “Excuse My Beauty,” “Gainer” and “Feeder” and, of course, “Goddess,” bringing LGBT cultural and sexual mores front, center and eye-level. With his new collection, Gay Circus, Siferd’s messaging moves beyond slogan tees and takes shape in bright colorful prints, gold glitter, rainbow colors and sparkles. Excuse our beauty, indeed.
"Just being yourself can be such an extreme act today. Hopefully I can empower or inspire people to be their true selves. That's the most important thing to me," says Siferd, whose recent obsession with Sotheby's informed many of the looks for Gay Circus. "It's crazy to see the auction results. You can find the most incredible jewelry and objects of art from the past."
"My creative process tends to be different from season to season," notes Siferd. "I like to try to change it up to keep things interesting—sometimes I'm inspired by a character I think up, or a model, or even something as basic as a print or a color scheme that I build a collection around. For Gay Circus I did a lot of visual research and pulled tons of references, everything from '90s Japanese fantasy art to campy '60s films and '80s hair bands. I wanted to take a lot of strong visual cues and mash them up to create an interesting troupe of characters."
"I find it interesting to look at how people can subvert uniforms through styling choices like hair and accessories, as well as fit," says Siferd.
"The name Goddess was chosen as it implies empowerment through femininity. I try to design clothes that send a message of openness, originality and individuality; I also like to work with ambiguity, letting the wearer's attitude or identity signal the meaning behind the designs. To me, a goddess is any person who behaves and dresses in their own unique way, regardless of society's expectations." Amen to that.
"The 'Focus on the Family' graphic I used in this collection is meant to be slightly ambiguous. It's obviously a terrible conservative organization, but I made the logo in gold glitter and rainbow colors. To a Goddess, 'focusing on the family' could mean focusing on your friends and your peers who are fighting Western patriarchal oppression, or whatever else a family might mean to you beyond its conservative appropriation."