Genderless designer and F.I.T’s 2019 Stacey Tessner Critic Award winner, Aldrian Diaz join Mikara Reid of #ZINETALK (powered by this episode. He covers his start in the fashion industry, putting on a runway show and Tierra Whack wearing one of his looks! Be sure to let us know your thoughts on this brand and the podcast (we love feedback) !

[ALDRIAN] So something really important to me is like gender fluidity. And I just want my my clothes specifically to be genderless.

[ MIKARA] Mhmm

[ALDRIAN] And so I really wanted someone that represented that, but I identified it as gender fluid. And so her name was actually Serena T. She’s a drag queen and I haven’t following her for a while. And from my first design meeting with like my professor and the department I brought up that I wanted a model that was non binary and someone that just stood for something more than just any basic model. 

[MIKARA] Right. 

[ALDRIAN] And so it took a lot of convincing because this was the first time F.I.T finally did this. But they eventually pulled through.

[MIKARA] Good!

[ALDRIAN] They actually told me like the day of my fitting, they’re like, we booked Serena at 3 o’clock and I was like, oh, my God, yes. 

[MIKARA] Yeah.

[ALDRIAN]  So, yeah. And I really wanted her in drag. There was a lot of conversation about whether or not we wanted her in drag, out of drag. Kind of like a boy drag look. So actually, the show that was filmed that you watch, she was in drag. But we did a rehearsal show earlier that day. That was not filmed. And she was out of drag. So I was kind of cool for me to get to see both. 

[MIKARA] That’s really fun because I’m like his model is very different from everybody else’s. Everyone else is using each other’s models. But his in particular. I’m like, the look, your look was just so distinguishable in the model that you picked!

[ALDRIAN] Laughs

[MIKARA] How does it feel to have the Stacey Tessner’s Critic award?

[ALDRIAN] Stacey was great! She worked with us from the start of the semester and I personally had a great relationship with her. I felt she gave really great advice. I loved having her as a critic. I think she was really good at giving like individual advice to each and every one of us. There was a lot of us in the class; our critiques with her would go on for hours and hours and she would have to stay there and look at everyone’s looks. And sometimes I would go like dead last because we would go in alphabetical order and  I’m “A” my name. We would go in reverse order each class. Sometimes I was dead last. And I was like, Oh, my God, she’s gonna be over this. She’s not going to want to listen to me. I loved working with her and she gave really, really great advice. She was always there for me, pushing boundaries. I feel like a big thing with F.I.T and their curriculum, they things to be like a little more wearable just because that’s what sells. And I got that, but for me, I really just wasn’t thinking so much about selling. I was thinking more so putting on a show. I feel like Stacey really appreciated that. And she was always kind of like, go for it. She’s a senior designer, knitwear designer at Marc Jacobs, which is the brand that I really admire. So it was really an honor getting that award.

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This interview has been edited and condensed. Listen to the full episode on #ZINETALK on Spotify | iTunesSoundCloud | StitcherAcast | iHeartRadio .