SoGayTV invited Patrick Antosh, Costume Designer for Queer As Folk, to speak to the viewers about gay fashion, along with Stephen Sandler, creator of Body Body Wear clothing, and Paul DeBoy, host of the PrideVision show "The Locker Room." Host Mathieu Chantelois sat down with the three men to talk shop...
Mathieu: What is the gay chic? Is there such a thing as the 'gay aesthetic'?
Patrick: I think that part is a bit overrated. When I was getting the job on [Queer As Folk], there was a lot of talk about getting a gay designer for the show, or whether they would just get a [straight] designer, and I honestly think I'm just a designer, and since I've started doing the show, I've learned so much more. I went to fly [the Toronto nightclub which used to double as "Babylon"] for the first time last May and I'd been shooting the show for eight months, thinking I knew what was going on, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I'd never done anything like that before. I go out a lot more now, but at least I can write it off!
Mathieu: What did you learn this last year about the gay chic?
Patrick: I think that I had a good sensibility for it, obviously. I used to live outside of Toronto in a really small town but I obviously got in here and I got to see what was going on. I think that it's more -- it's not even a gay thing -- I think when you watch TV, and you watch straight TV, everybody's dressed really, really well. Well, gay men actually dress that well most of the time; and it's pretty cliché to say that, because obviously there's badly dressed gay people too, but I think that generally, we have just a bit better aesthetic and we're willing to wear what's out on the runway, and you have all these sexy clothes by Versace or whatever, like everybody loves labels, but it's moreover clothes about sexuality, and gay men, or homosexuals, have the nerve to wear that sexy clothing. So I think it's mostly sexy clothing, and that's where he [Stephen] comes in, because it's mostly tight-fitting clothes.
Mathieu: You provide a lot of tight clothes for gay men... is this what the gay men want?
Stephen: It's what the gay men want, but a lot of straight men want it to. I won't focus on the straight guy tonight, but...
Mathieu: How do you create the look for gay guys then?
Stephen: I think going out to clubs and seeing what guys like, and creating something with a sexiness, something that is going to make the guys' shoulders look bigger and waists a little smaller, just the perception that you're going to look sexier. Ultimately, that's my goal.
Paul: Isn't gay fashion more about body image right now, as opposed to the clothes?
Mathieu: Gay guys are the fashion designers of their own bodies, and then they just put tight things on top.
Patrick: That's the thing, they start underneath. The same clothes are available to straight people, and all of the runway stuff is very sexy and the majority of people can't wear it, but gay mean seem to be hypersensitive to how they look and spend the extra time looking good or watching their weight and what they eat, so they get to wear even more revealing clothes and actually don't have to go so far to cover up the mistakes because they try harder not to have any mistakes.
Stephen: It's also about the fabrics... there's the fit and the sexy kind of silouhette; there's also the fabrication. There's also the images that gay designers portray on the runway where John Bartlett is showing clothes on a beach, by the pier, and he's got guys cruising... I was at that show, in a jail, where guys were behind bars... you've got these images that are sexy for gay men.
Patrick: I think it's also about the people that want to be fashionable. I think that gay people want to be fashionable, and I think that's the key. They want to be sexy, and they want to look good, and it's something guys can relate to with other guys, and that's important so we take it further. It makes my job really easy because I get to also create with really great colours rather than just black and grey. I can use a lot of colour, a lot of texture, and that's really what makes the job exciting.
Paul: Do you find it limiting as a designer to make clothes that are so form fitting? Do you actually set out to design clothes of a looser nature, or something that you don't think gay men would actually put on to go out and get laid?
Patrick: The funny thing is, that fifty percent of the clothes that I make and design are loose fitting.
Question from the chatroom on U8TV.com: Are wide pant legs in style, or not?
Patrick: They are in style, but nobody wants to wear them.
Mathieu: You have this problem with your actors?
Patrick: Totally. Gale, who plays Brian -- all the time. Every brand new pair of pants I get in for him: [imitating Gale] "Can you just taper them to a cigarette?" He likes them really narrow.
Mathieu: How are the actors to work with?
Patrick: Honest to god, they're great.
Mathieu: All of them? Come on, we want a bit of dirt! One name!
Patrick: Some of them are a little more private than others when it comes to the sex scenes. Michelle Clunie, who plays Melanie, there's no problem having a fitting with her. I could be in there for two hours with her, and we have a little curtained off room -- her and Emmett, actually, we don't need the little curtained off room. Anybody could walk in there at any time, and they're in there naked, and it's like 'put on the next thing.'
Bobby Gant models clothing from
BODY BODY WEAR by Stephen Sandler
Charcoal muscle tank
Gym gear - Long sleeve sweatshirt and full side-zip nylon pant
Black muscle tank, charcoal cotton-lycra stretch-twill 5-pocket jean
Heather grey muscle tank and gym pant
Long sleeve crew T; posing with designer Stephen Sandler