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RINA SAWAYAMA.

The groundbreaking artist is defying genres on her incredible debut.

There’s no references to heteronormativity or heteronormative love on this album,” Rina Sawayama refreshingly admits down the phone. “I’m just… very bored by it.” (She’s not alone.) This April, the British singer-songwriter will release her long-awaited debut album, an album that is (in this journalist’s opinion) one of the most exciting and innovative debuts in recent memory. Oh, and we have to add: queer as hell. While a lot of artists tend to cater to what radio stations will play with mainstream Max Martin, Stargate and Greg Kurstin-esque produced pop anthems to achieve chart success with their first record (no shade, we stan all three), Rina has continued to flip the metaphorical script with a string of personal and socially conscious bops. “You only get a debut album once,” she responds, when we question why she hasn’t ventured down the typical pop-girl route. “I want to see a bit of a change in the musical landscape and I wanted to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. I’ve always wanted to make songwriting better.”

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About Gay Times

When curating The Fashion Issue, we looked to the past, present and future, to showcase the queer trailblazers of design. Jean Paul Gaultier bids farewell to the runway, not before putting on the biggest extravaganza to close his 50-year career. We talk to the designer on the changes he’s seen throughout those five decades and his love for reinterpreting beauty standards. Celebration and reflection continue when we delve into the wild world of Dsquared2. Co-founders Dean and Dan Caten celebrate the brand’s 25th anniversary, with the expansion of their ICON line. Double denim never looked so dreamy. “We found a little factory and we paid for everything, made the samples, and we sewed them,” Dan tells us from Milan, reflecting on the beginnings of their world-famous line. “We’ve done a lot over the years and we’ve come a long way, so we’re quite proud of that,” Dan adds. “We’re still standing on our own two feet and we’re proud of that as well!” As for looking towards the future, there's no one more fitting than bombshell siren Tokyo Stylez. Call it hair styling, wig making, or weave witchcraft, the star opens up about her transition and what it’s like being the creative brains behind some of the most iconic hair looks from Kylie Jenner and Cardi B. “I just felt that it was time to stop hiding who I am because I’ve been doing that for most of my life,” she tells us. “If I wasn’t being true to myself, then how would I help anybody else who might be going through the same thing? Being unapologetic has always been my attitude, so why change that during my transition to the woman I always was?” As you travel into different times, visual aesthetics, and faces throughout this issue, the message is clear: Fashion is queer! There’s not a corner of this industry, from the designers, stylists, photographers, and even seamstresses, that the queer presence isn’t felt.