Fashion Blogger Belle Glass Tackles Fashion, Race, And Gender Politics In Perfect Harmony
If you haven't heard of fashion blogger Belle Glass before, it's time you look her up, because she's about to shake things up in a big way. This Bronx-born fashionista is committed to creating a platform for women of color and queer fashion to be brought to the forefront of discussion through her blog Fistfloyd, and her radio show of the same name. Her blog, like the lady behind it, commands attention and confidence, as the self declared "ledge queen" demands you "pay close attention." And you better pay close attention, because Belle Glass is making waves in the blogging community and in the sartorial world.
As an androgynous woman of color, Glass knows just how important it is to rally for greater visibility of marginalized identities. She started her blog during her freshman year at Purchase College. The student body's flair for style inspired Glass to document her own killer outfits and the ensembles of others. Each post was paired with a song that she felt connected her to the outfit or the day's mood. But as she grew and expanded her ideas for her brand, as well as her personal political beliefs, things started to shift. "Fistfloyd just started out being me posing in cute outfits," she tells me in an exclusive interview for Bustle. "But now it's more than that."
In a college where the student body is very absorbed in radical politics, Glass became more of a political person as she fully embraced feminism, queer politics, and her blackness. "(My brand) has changed a lot since I've become political," she says. "And now the blog is about my identity as a super fashionable person, as an artist, and as a woman of color."
(Romper: Charlotte Russe; Shoes: Express)
From an early age, Glass fantasized about a world where all people could live in harmony regardless of their differences in identity. "I was that girl who was like so hellbent on being president," she says. "I thought a lot about immigration because I'm a Latina woman and a lot of my family are immigrants from the Dominican Republic." However, when Glass discovered racism and the corruption of the government, she quickly changed her mind.
Instead, Glass found other ways to influence change and express her political views. "(The blog is) just my way of putting myself out there," she tells me. "And maybe not totally being on the front lines and fighting for things, but fighting for things in the best way that I can."
Glass' blackness and gender fluidity inform her style choices and inspirations, and she wants readers to see and relate to that. "Our identities affect society and society affects our identities," she notes. "I want my blog to empower people and keep pushing the idea of people of color becoming comfortable in your own skin."
Glass began expanding this message beyond her blog, and started a radio show of the same name. Fistfloyd took over the airwaves of Purchase's college radio station, and became a platform for Glass to talk about racism, hip hop, and showcase only artists of color. Imagine everything from Kendrick Lamar (she's obsessed with his latest album To Pimp a Butterfly) to lesser known artists like Barf Troop and Punk Adams playing in the background, as Glass' soothing but unwavering voice goes off about injustices of law enforcement and internalized racism.
At a college that's up to speed about issues of systemic racism and passionate about political correctness, the radio show was received very well. Now that she's transitioning to life at Hunter College in Manhattan, Glass is determined to keep it going at a slightly less liberal school. "I'm preparing myself for the people who are gonna hate what I have to say," she says. "But I'll be starting conversations, educating people, and getting riled up. It's gonna be great."
Fistfloyd's radio show counterpart did more than empower the identities of others. For Glass, it made her blackness more visible and allowed her to arrive fully into her own identity. As a Dominican, the blogger didn't feel that she had a right to claim blackness or speak on behalf of black people. "For the first couple of shows, I was trying to keep myself back," she remembers. "I felt this wasn't really my culture and thought I couldn't speak for this."
Glass felt confused about her identity, stemming in part from the huge amount of internalized racism she perceived in Latina communities, and in the Dominican Republic specifically (exemplified in the recent forced deportation of Haitians from DR). But as time went on, she began to change her mind and realize she experienced real disadvantages in our country as a woman of color. "The show helped things click for me. I started realizing the struggle was my struggle. Things just clicked," she snaps. "And I thought, wait a minute, actually I'm so black!"
Much of her style choices and fashion politics stem from her heritage. Besides wearing loud and colorful prints, characteristic of various Latino cultures, she recently learned to embrace her curly hair. "I used to straighten my hair all the time," she recalls, "Especially for shoots (for the blog)." But after seeing the beauty of her naturally curly hair, and discovering the magic of bantu knots, Belle usually rocks a curly 'do. "I love my curly hair," she muses. "That's the biggest way I've come to incorporate my culture into my fashion."
(Jacket: Thrifted; Top: Forever 21; Leggings and Shoes: American Eagle)
Glass' feminism also plays a huge role in her fashion politics and style choices. "The greatest evil of the patriarchy is conditioning women to feel like they need to dress a certain way," she says. "And I say f*ck that!"
Through the ways she dresses and the outfits she posts on Fistfloyd, Glass hope to debunk confining ideas of gender and beauty. "I think it's so important for women to know you don't have to shave your legs if you don't feel like it; you don't have to shave your armpits; you don't have to wear makeup," she says. "And at the same time, if you want to, do it! Do whatever makes you feel good, whatever makes you feel beautiful."
This year, as well as moving her radio show to her new stomping grounds, Glass hopes to revamp the blog to include more about race politics, music, and of course more cute outfits in general. The Fistfloyd brand is all about blending fashion, politics, and music in a way that best speaks to Glass' identity and to the visibility of marginalized identities as a whole.
"I feel like everyone can feel music in that same way we can feel fashion," she adds. "And through these things, we address how we feel about politics and (ourselves). And it's all meant to be in harmony."
Check out Belle Glass' blog fistfloyd.tumblr.com and watch out for more cool outfits and updates on the radio show.
Images: Meg Zulch (5); llebayk/Instagram