Can you tell us about your creative journey so far?
I am where I am meant to be. I have gone a long way, I may not be where I want to be, I still have much of my journey ahead, but I know I am glad I took a step and moved from where I was or I wouldn’t be the man fighting for others to have their chance to be who they are.
What were your first years in the design industry like, and when did you begin to feel confident in your work?
A roller coaster of emotions! I guess it’s the same with every business; you have fears and doubts. Either you let them trample you to the ground along with every little problem you face, or fix your eyes on the reason why you are doing this in the first place. If your foundation is strong — your vision– then nothing can bring you down.
You have been advocating for LGBTQ+ people, and raising awareness for LGBTQ+ issues for many years. How did that culminate in you founding LOYOLA®?
I am a lover of timeless fashion and minimalistic design and I saw there was a gap in the market for LGBTQ+/pride apparel that speaks to the minimalist’s taste. I have always wanted my own brand, so pairing my love of timeless fashion and design with my LGBTQ+ advocacy just makes my heart sing.
How does LOYOLA® aspire to empower people as they express the diversity, beauty and intersectionality of sexuality?
Like what we say in our website, Who We Are is important and valid. Each person has a voice and a place in this world.
What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
MYSELF. I had to first work on who I am and how I can sync what I see in the mirror and who I see myself. All that I am advocating now through my designs and my organisation is just a byproduct of my journey and how I stand with those who are also going through their own journeys. I want everyone to know that I am here and I will walk with anyone who would need me to join them in their journey.
How (if at all) does being LGBTQ+ inform your design work?
Predominantly yes, but if you look at it, what really LOYOLA® wants to impart is that you are worthy and valid. It is not just for LGBTQ+ but for everyone else who has to break out of their shells and have their voices heard.
With a lesbian sister, a gay uncle, trans cousin, and trans niece it sounds like you would have had an incredibly supportive family, despite the support did you face any challenges with coming out?
There will always be challenges in coming out. No matter how supportive a family is. A person’s first battle when it comes to his or her identity is in her/himself. We first battled on finding who we are, then we need to come to terms with what we have discovered in ourselves. Being accepted by the people around us is just secondary to us accepting who we are. As they say “love begins with you”.
Do you have any advice for queer designers starting out in the industry?
Find your voice and stand up for it. Like I said earlier, the biggest battle we face is finding out who we are, but when you KNOW who you are and you have accepted your IDENTITY, stand up and fight for it. Go for it and keep your passion burning and never let anyone stifle your flame.
What’s favorite piece of queer visual culture?
Definitely the Stonewall Inn by Fred W. McDarrah – The bar opened the night after the riots, although it did not serve alcohol. More and more supporters outside the bar, chanting slogans like “gay power” and “we shall overcome.” Source: history.com
What other queer people inspire you?
Ellen DeGeneres, because she changes people’s lives and has really paved the way for the LGBTQ community, making us feel like we can proudly accept ourselves. I believe that regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you are capable of making a difference. I come from a place where people make you feel that if you are queer, you will have no direction in life, you will go nowhere. To me, Ellen is one of the best examples to prove them wrong in the most amicable and genuine way possible. I am here to spread kindness and compassion regardless of what the world sees me as.
Get in touch with Isaac and see more of his work:
Preferred pronoun: He/Him