Models hit the stage at the Lebanese American University (LAU) on Thursday for a fashion show that was all about gender equality, gender fluidity, and gay pride.
During "Reflections," a multidisciplinary event on gender equality and human rights, Lebanese fashion design student Aniss Ezzedine showcased designs that blurred the lines of gender stereotypes and gave members of the LGBTQ+ community a platform to express themselves.
According to Ezzedine, Thursday's show was most likely Lebanon's first-ever queer fashion show.
Speaking to StepFeed, Ezzedine said he was selected to present the fashion show since his work revolves around gender fluidity and gender equality.
To do this, he created androgynous designs and cast models from across the sexuality spectrum.
"I had a transsexual [model], a straight girl, a straight guy, a homosexual, a bisexual ... all kinds of sexual orientations," he explained. "I wanted diversity in my show."
So, on Thursday night, male models rocked skirts and dresses, while females strutted in what might stereotypically be considered as unfeminine.
What was the thought process behind the designs?
"I felt like the looks needed to express the feeling of suffering that all people who face gender inequality have experienced," he said.
"And I wanted to express a feeling of power, freedom, sass, and attitude that represents the queer community."
As for colors and fabric, Ezzedine opted for dark colors "to show all [the struggles] they (LGBTQ+ people) go through, especially with the dark red and the use of leathers including snake leather."
He decided to use see-through fabric to empower members of the queer community to be transparent and express their true identities.
He went on to say, "The feedback was amazing! Overall, it was super positive, better than I would have ever expected."
As a fashion design student, Ezzedine hopes to see the Arab world let go of gender stereotypes.
"My purpose is to one day, get to a point in the Arab world where there is no such thing as 'This is too feminine for you' and 'This is too masculine for you'," he explained.
"You [are supposed to] wear clothes that you like because you like them, not because they belong to a certain gender that people choose to identify you with. After all, I think gender is a socially constructed concept made to separate people."
Zyad Ceblany, one of the models, told StepFeed he enjoyed taking part in the show.
He said it was a "new and fresh" experience in comparison to the other modeling gigs he has partaken in.
"Modelling in Lebanon is usually very stereotypical, as models have to adhere to very specific physical requirements," he explained.