Out of the closet: San Francisco Pride fashion exudes acceptance, individuality

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Skylar DePaul/Staff

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One weekend every year, people flock to the San Francisco Civic Center sporting every color of the spectrum in support of LGBTQ+ people all over the world.

This year, the Pride looks that graced the streets of San Francisco on Saturday and Sunday spanned from glittering wings attached on full-body to rhinestoned armor to free-spirited individuals sporting their birthday suits.

“Pride means being completely and undeniably happy with who you are and not caring what anyone else thinks about you,” Pride attendee Ryan Moore said. “Whoever out here is reading this, you are beautiful, you are perfect, and do not ever care what anyone else says or thinks about you.”

This year marks Moore’s first Pride weekend in San Francisco with friend Cara McIntyre, as Moore moved to Marin County just three weeks ago. Moore, sporting the classic rainbow-banded everything, also opted for wide fishnet stockings — a popular accessory at this year’s festival.

Considering the summer weather hitting the Bay Area, many attendees such as McIntyre pulled out matching sports bra and boyshorts sets for the occasion, exhibiting wild patterns and bright colors.

Marcos Domingez, who hails from Mexico and now lives in the Bay Area in San Jose, expressed pride through a painted back of colored glitter arranged as a rainbow, illuminated by the sunlight.

“Pride to me is free, life and happiness,” Domingez said. “I had a rough life — being here is amazing. I’m so happy to be a part of this because it makes me stronger.”

Domingez’s look was completed by a towering, multicolored crown.

Skylar DePaul/Staff

Skylar DePaul/Staff

Headpieces were also a popular find in the crowd this year, with many attendees, such as Malaika Smith and Miranda Andrade, sporting bountiful flower crowns. Smith also wore a crocheted tank top — another trending piece during the warm weekend. Smith and Andrade said their looks were reflective of the accepting and loving nature of Pride, their friendship, and of “coming together and just celebrating who you are,” in Smith’s words.

Pride was characterized by groups of friends who donned matching outfits and expressed their love for each other and for the LGBTQ+ community in fun, creative ways. Morgan Froehle, Devin Ramos and Ali Paigee all attended Pride together for the first time, sporting matching bright red sweaters, heart sunglasses and space buns in their hair to show unity.

Skylar DePaul/Staff

Skylar DePaul/Staff

“I feel like it’s pretty necessary when you live in the ‘gay capital of the world’ to go to Pride,” Ramos said. Some other friends took a more unconventional path to highlight their togetherness. A group called the “#butterflykeepers” dressed in all-white suits adorned with butterfly netting and colorful bugs.

The unconventional looks ranged from full-body rainbow outfits to homemade animal-themed getups. Ashley Craigs, a San Francisco native who has been attending Pride for about 14 years, said her rainbow outfit was inspired by her feeling of freedom to be who she is during Pride. Equally loud and proud, Katie Benzing, Chris Wagnon and Crystal Challoner all sported animalistic outfits by Benzing’s own KZ Clubwear collection, which Benzing self-makes and sells.

“It literally makes me happy,” Benzing said. “It’s just happiness of people being themselves for once and not have to hide or pretend to be someone they’re not.” 

Skylar DePaul/Staff

Skylar DePaul/Staff

Fashion extended from fabrics and patterns to makeup, as many chose to use their faces as their palettes of expression. Skyler Lacey and Madison Thompson sparkled with shimmery highlights across their cheekbones, sporting the body glitter that was seen across the board at this year’s Pride.

Flower crowns, wide fishnets, endless amounts of tie-dye and rainbow-striped socks were seen all around the celebration. Groups such as that of Amber Hartigan, Stephanie Gerber and Camryn Young threw all the trends together in single looks, resulting in a colorful array of pride for all of San Francisco to admire.

“Everyone’s so happy here and so loving and accepting,” Gerber said. “I love it.”

Leo Rocha and Eddy Castello also followed this smorgasbord look of trends, owning their pride with model-like confidence.

“Pride will be a place and area where you can be yourself and no one will judge you no matter what, no matter what,” Rocha said.

Ultimately, Pride is a place where people of all backgrounds are always encouraged to be unashamedly themselves — whether through their accessory choices, who they love or who they are.

Contact Skylar De Paul at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.