SEATTLE VICE - THE PILOT
SEPIA KATSOOLIS - JESSICA MCQUARRIE
JESSICA MCQUARRIE - SEPIA KATSOOLIS
SEPIA KATSOOLIS - JESSICA MCQUARRIE
JESSICA MCQUARRIE - SEPIA KATSOOLIS
Gehinnom is a local art model and bass player for King Dude. I was lucky enough to get them to style some of the latest Feminist Fatal apparel with their wardrobe and knock out a super fun, hard mix styled shoot. Check out the photos and our Q&A below!
What inspired you to get into fashion in your early life? When I was a kid there was this very bougie design and trinket shop near my mother's office. She'd often take me in there to buy candy, but I'd also get to see those iconic late '90s Helmut Lang ads on the backs of all the magazines. It was so stark, it was the most extreme thing I'd ever seen - something about it really stuck with me.
How would your describe your style evolution? I've had a lot of phases. I've always tried on visual cues of various subcultures and genders to see if they suit me - something I've always framed as a social experiment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it really doesn't. In middle school I was a total Hot Topic weeb. In high school I was low-key goth but filtered through various shades of grunge, emo and raver aesthetics. In college I tried my hardest to be one of those super femme occulty Instagram girls, which was torture, because it turns out I'm simply not femme. My style right now is very influenced by Star Wars and other sci-fi: a lot of asymmetry, utilitarian materials in interesting cuts, heavy layering. I don't want any of my clothing to look like it's from this world. I've also returned to some of the trashy dark fashion I loved when I was in my early teens - being cool doesn't matter as an adult the way it did in middle school, and now I can buy all the Tripp NYC gear my parents told me I wasn't allowed to own!
How does identifying as non-binary shape the way you view clothes? I'm very comfortable obliterating my body under layers of material. It makes me sexless, unidentifiable. I used to think that you had to dress so people could see your body. I was always in low-cut shirts and tight pants, because I thought that's what being a woman meant. Now I can take on whatever shape I want. I'm just a mass of fabric billowing down the street.
Top three favorite designers? Helmut Lang forever! Of course I love Rick Owens (which anyone could have guessed). I've always appreciated AF Vandevorst - they're a little all over the place, but they play with the tropes of couture fashion in a way that makes sense to me.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be? I have this oversized ASOS bomber jacket with a billion pockets that I never seem to take off; it would be that, some Levi's black skinny jeans, and mid-calf Doc Martens, all black. This outfit is basically my uniform. It's utilitarian and comfortable but edgy enough to look like I've tried.
Favorite makeup product of the moment. Fenty matte lipstick in Clapback - it's a dark navy blue, almost black. I find that dark matte lipsticks can either be too chalky or too greasy but this one has a perfect formula in a really modern color.
If you could shoot with any photographer who would you want to shoot with? There are so many I can't remember them all. I'd love to shoot with Insideflesh. I met Matt Colombo in Milan when I was on tour but we only got to take some quick photos before the show; I'd love to have a real shoot with him.
If you could live anywhere in the world, would you still be in Seattle? I do love Seattle, but if I didn't have any obligations here I might be in Copenhagen or Helsinki. I clearly need to be somewhere cold, and in a large city.
Where are your favorite places to travel? My band tours mostly around Europe, so that's where you'll normally find me when I'm not in Seattle. Ukraine and Russia are bizarre and lovely. Berlin is a lot of fun, but definitely a party city. We recently completed a small Mexican tour, and the food was so incredible I wish we could have stayed there twice as long.
Has going to cons shaped your style? I've always love the maximalism of clothing design in anime and science fiction - everything is super detail-oriented, and of course nothing has to be wearable in real life, so it can be as extreme as possible. There's also an element of escapism to it. I cosplay occasionally, and disappearing into the aesthetics of your heroes feels amazing.
When and why did you get into modeling? I've always had a very poor perception of my own physicality. I had to go to physical and occupational therapy as a kid because I couldn't figure out how to run, or how to tie my shoes, and well into adulthood I still felt like I had no awareness of my body, as if I was just a brain in some kind of awkward ambulatory jar. Modeling forces you to contend with your physical form and understand how it exists in space. It also forces you to contend with your gender identity, as much of the physical lexicon of modeling is focused on these archetypal depictions of femininity - the girl next door, the femme fatale, the madonna/whore complex. I tried to play along for a while, but it was terrible for my mental health. I've been critical of what I consider 'art' and have lost some friends in the industry because of it, but I feel like I'm at a place where I'm making modeling work for me as a nonbinary person.
In what direction would you like to see your art career go? I have no idea. I think mostly about the immediate future. If anyone asks me where I'll be in five years I straight-up dissociate.
We get you Marlow!!
Jay is a bit of a Seattle style icon in the tradition of Cat Marnell, a social media siren known for their creative reinterpretations of the neo-goth aesthetic. They're also a musician and currently studying at the University of Washington to become a film score composer (for horror movies, preferably). I met Jay in a film class my senior year and was thrilled to reconnect, chat about fashion and have them style some Feminist Fatal pieces for a quick shoot. The entirety of our conversation, including our honest reflections on the psychology of cigarettes, their thoughts on gender, identifying as non-binary and the influence of their conservative childhood on their style, will be airing next week on my podcast, the Feminist Fatal Audio program.
Where are you from?
I always say I’m from San Diego, I lived there for I fifteen years but I was born in Virginia
Did you like California?
I really really don’t like the weather, not to sound like a total fake deep emo weirdo but I really don’t like the sun. I don’t think its nice.
Also, in San Diego I didn’t feel like the art and music scene was something that I related to and that’s something that’s so big in my life I felt very stifled. It was kinda boring to me.
Did you have any connection to Seattle before you moved up here?
I knew that because of the type of person that I am, I would have to go to a city that was exciting and felt stimulating to me. That I couldn’t just go to a city that I felt like oh this is a good school and it has a good program but its in the middle of no where, I would die. I knew I had to go somewhere that offered me something more than San Diego. I liked the weather and I liked some of the local musicians up here.
What musicians were you into?
It was the time that I was into some earlier GOTHBOICLIQUE stuff, Mackned, Thrax House, Nacho Picasso, there’s this guy CRIMEWAVE in Tacoma too.
Is there a goth mecca city?
So if you’re talking about from the standpoint of this new goth cultural phenomenon that’s very trendy… L.A. But I abhor Los Angeles.
Why do you think they’re all in L.A.?
Because they all want to be rappers.
I don’t dislike the word goth, but i know a few goth goth people who are into historical goth shit and I’m really not. I just like to wear what I like to wear and I’m into what I’m into and I’ve never done any background research on it. I just like what I like.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t know… calculated? Like, try hard? No. A lot of time and effort goes into looking like there’s not a lot of time and effort going into it. But with my clothes 90 percent of the time I’m wearing an oversized graphic t-shirt and baggy pants or really tight pants and a platform shoe. It’s not really ground breaking. The part that I put more effort into making things come together and making it a look is when I do shit with my makeup.
How long have you been doing makeup looks like you do now?
It’s been a very long progression, in high school I started wearing bright red lipstick as eyeshadow before that was like a thing. and i hate saying that because it sounds so self absorbed but like I was using red lipstick because they didn’t sell red eyeshadow.
You would have to buy black lipstick online and since I was poor and crafty I would melt down black crayola crayons into lipstick.
You can do that?
Yeah you can! With coconut oil. Now you can just go to CVS and get black lipstick.
I’ve kinda been doing that sort of thing for a while but once that became more… I guess I just have this internal deep winded desire to be contrarian because as soon as that began to be more popular, especially with the rise of social media things can spread so much quicker and styles can really spread like wildfire- so once that became more widely accepted I started branching out a little bit more and doing stuff like, I guess around this time last year I started doing the smudged lipstick deal and stuff like dots and lines around my eyes, Xs, crosses, whatever. Dots here and there.
And then probably 6 months ago, I bleached my eyebrows and started doing more stuff with my face.
Do you follow Ugly Worldwide? I feel like you’re like mini Seattle Ugly Worldwide.
Yeah! That is such a compliment. I’m gonna bust a nut. I wish! I do get a lot of inspiration from some of their stuff. I did like this fake tooth gap recently, waterproof eyeliner on my teeth.
But when I started doing more graphic stuff that was more recently and that’s one thing that’s becoming more widely accepted but not to the point where I feel uncomfortable doing it.
You get some weird looks sometimes but that’s a part of the fun. You also get looks from little kids who think you’re super fucking dope.
Jay's signature stars, hearts and especially snakes are the centerpieces of their looks. I asked for my own snake before the shoot and was delighted to receive one. I was surprised to find it feels a little bit like wearing glasses, in the sense that a bridge of color on your nose floats in your peripheral vision. I actually could see myself wearing it more often, it feels like you can have the flash effect of wearing a lot of makeup while maintaining a more androgynous look.
It feels like the ultimate play between trying really hard and not trying at all, a symbol to ensure Jay is an encounter.
You can find Jay on Instagram (@nonthreateningcultleader) or by clicking one of the widgets below!