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Over the course of a year we developed a relationship with the House Mothers and members and charted the build up to the Manchester ICONS Vogue Ball. We’ve explored themes from the internal politics of Vogue to its external politics like disenfranchisement of black youth, LGBT issues, a shrinking welfare state, a dearth of art spaces and modes of expression, a reductive and commercialized gay scene and a lack of safe spaces for the truly different.
We also looked at personal stories; people coming to love and accept themselves, young mothers gaining back their sense of self, people receiving applause, adulation and respect for the first times in their lives after years of bullying and abuse from their peers, people abandoned by their families finding a new family through Vogue. We discovered that a lot of the reasons that gay black men were seeking an aspirational artistic outlet through Vogue in the 1980s, were the same reasons that Northern youth was seeking Vogue now; social persecution for their sexuality and way of life, rejection from their family and a need for a safe space in which to express themselves as LGBT and POC people.
- Amy & Dennis