There is no doubt that when it comes to gender-bent fashion on the red carpet, Pose star Billy Porter has become a household name. But in a new interview, the 52-year-old Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner wonders why he isn’t being given more credit for his work in the fashion world.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, Porter spoke about being excluded from the fashion industry, citing Vogue‘s cover story in which Harry Styles wore a dress from November 2020 as a snub to queer pioneers like him who worked to make androgynous and genderfluid fashion more mainstream.
“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why,” Porter said in his interview, pointing to his flamboyant red carpet fashion as an example. “I created the conversation and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”
Porter continued, saying that having Styles represent the mainstream move toward more inclusive fashion erased the people who have fought for such a move — including himself. “I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do,” he said. “This is politics for me. This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned down. All he has to do is be white and straight.”
In his interview for Vogue back in November, Styles highlighted the importance of breaking down gender barriers, while citing personal heroes like Prince, David Bowie and Elton John for inspiring his fashion journey. “When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play … anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes,” he said.
In his interview, Porter went a step further, saying that he “changed the whole game” when it came to genderfluid fashion thanks to his red carpet work. “I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game. And that is not ego, that is just fact,” he said. “I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it.”
Check out Billy Porter’s full interview here, where he talks his childhood, his rise to fame, his new single “Children” and more.