Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Owens-Reid.
Dan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2010, I started a blog called Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber – it blew up pretty quickly, and people would call me for interviews, asking questions like “so what is Tumblr?” Queer kids on the internet started to pay attention to me because of my blog, and I started getting TONS of questions; what do you do if you’re in love with your best friend, how do you get over heartbreak, how do you meet other gay people, how do you come out to religious parents.
There were SO MANY, so, I started answering them. I started a blog with another gay, and eventually, we wrote a book “This is a Book For Parents of Gay Kids” – we toured 21 cities, and parents literally looked me in the eye and said, “I have a relationship with my kid because of your book.” Those are the compliments that stick with me most. I Want to change the way people feel. And I want to help people understand that everyone deserves to be respected.
I was never super into fashion, but I think that’s because there wasn’t a place for me in it. I don’t like dresses, I don’t like suits. So what do I wear to a wedding? It was a journey and took a while, but eventually, I figured out that my style and presentation are somewhere in the middle of masculine and feminine. If I’m in a clothing store, I want to find clothes from both sections. I started shopping mostly vintage because I could pull things from any era and any gender, throw it together and create a new look.
Through fashion, I discovered my gender. The fashion industry is so dramatically gendered, and if anyone even BARELY dips a toe into a ~genderbending~ experience, people both go apeshit and are horrified. It’s so weird. I’m genderqueer, and I know a lot of people who are nonbinary, trans, or on some sort of genderfluid spectrum. Even my friends who aren’t non-binary do some nonbinary shit once in a while.
I decided I Wanted to create a marketplace for queer brands and show the world how many of us from all backgrounds prefer a non-gendered storefront. Also, I thought it would be fun to show how easy it is to have a truly inclusive runway show or fashion campaign.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting a business is hard, getting people to understand what you’re doing when it’s never been done is also hard. And at the end of the day, my models are black, queer, trans, POC, disabled, and plus size, so anyone in the fashion world is like “oh you lot don’t belong here.”
We didn’t even get invited to be a part of LA’s Equality Fashion week. The point of the fashion week was EQUALITY, and the only call we got was to see if we’d pay money to put an ad in their pamphlet. (????) When you’re directly combating the industry you’re apart of, it’s a struggle. Luckily, I don’t care about being a part of the fashion industry as it stands now. I want queer, nonbinary, POC, plus size, disabled identities to see that there is at least one place on the internet where you can buy clothes, accessories, shoes, and beauty products from brands that are owned by people who look like you.
Every single brand on Radimo is owned and operated by someone from a marginalized community and more often than not, someone from multiple cross-sections. We get their products and put together a campaign where each product is photographed on three completely different body types, skin tones, and gender presentations. Any brand can do what I’m doing – they just choose not to. And we all know they’re making the choice not to include us. Every single day their product development team, design team, and marketing team wakes up and actively decides not to include any of us in their work.
Please tell us about Radimo.
We are a genderfluid marketplace. We carry brands that are owned and operated by queer, trans, black, POC, disabled, women, and plus size designers. A lot of our brands are handmade or custom and otherwise sell their items on Instagram, Depop, or Etsy.
Radimo is a place for all of us to come together, so you can avoid shopping for fast fashion and purchase directly from your own community. We photograph each item on multiple body types, skin tones, and gender presentations giving marginalized folks the opportunity to finally see themselves reflected in fashion.
AND hosting brands that don’t break the bank. There are so many brands that claim to be gender neutral or inclusive, but it costs $70 for a teeshirt that just has a word on it. Gender neutral clothing does not mean just do teeshirts, and a t-shirt being $70 is inherently not inclusive.
In 2019, we launched the consulting arm of Radimo. Any brand, influencer, Event, TV or Film can come to us for consulting on how to create more inclusive brand messaging, produce inclusive campaigns, and adopt inclusive business practices.
I am most proud of creating a space I wish I’d had when I was younger.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My childhood was pretty dark and weird. My favorite memory might be when I was, and we went to the temple to baptize the dead. Just because it’ll make a great story for my memoir and I’m glad I know from experience that shit is real.