ICYMI, how could you? NiK Kacy (they/them/their) is everywhere. To quote our OG lesbian Eleanor Roosevelt – – “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Creator, producer, designer NiK Kacy ideas bring together fashion, runways, performances, community and activism. And if that’s not enough, Kacy is a Commissioner on the West Hollywood LGBTQ+ Commission.
Did you imagine Equality Fashion Week blowing up like it is? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course you did. You put your dreams into action. Boots on the ground, literally, in your own gender equal fashion wear. But how did the idea come about to create and produce Equality Fashion Week?
NK: Honestly, I had no idea it would turn into a thing but that certainly was the dream – to have Equality Fashion Week be part of major cities where LGBTQ+ equality and representation is lacking. Initially, I thought of the idea after going to other queer fashion shows in cities like NY, the Bay Area and Toronto. What I noticed was a lack of equity for queer brands, models and even the production of the shows compared to mainstream fashion shows. In addition, mainstream Fashion Weeks were lacking representation and were not accessible for most queer brands at the time. Beyond that, it was unfathomable that there was no queer fashion week in LA since so many queer, gender-inclusive fashion brands were popping up in LA. LA queer designers were really at the forefront of the gender equal and gender inclusive fashion movement. I envisioned that we could finally have a truly high production value fashion event with all Queer, Trans and Gender-expansive, People of Color models, performers and designers.
NK: However, the idea was only an idea for a few years due to a lack of funding until in 2018, the Montrose Hotel in West Hollywood was looking to do a rebranding launch party. They called me up to be part of their fashion show but didn’t have any concrete plans so I used the opportunity to pitch my concept and long story short, we became partners in creating the first Equality Fashion Week. They generously funded the entire event and really made it possible for this dream to come to fruition. After that, I took the dream even bigger and raised enough money in 2019 to compensate over 150 QTBIPOC models and performers.
NK: It is so important for our community, particularly those most marginalized to realize our worth. Transgender and gender non-conforming people continue to face stigma, bias, and systemic discrimination from an early age, heightening their vulnerability to violence. Being able to put on these types of events and use my platform to raise awareness and visibility, while also raising funds to build equity, is the least I can do to do my part on this Earth.
Equality Fashion Week runs from May 15 -May 19, 2024
NK: Equality Fashion Week is a HUGE endeavor and requires a lot of people to make it a success so I’m always looking for passionate, reliable and talented folks to join me on the journey. This year I’ll be partnering with the Queer Mercado to put on the biggest pop-ups EFW has seen yet.
Queer Prom is another magical NiK Kacy Presents event. Classic ballroom, disco, packed with LGBTQ+ family, influencers, drag queens, drag kings, all decked OUT, reveling in a high school prom they may not have ever been able to experience.
NK: Queer Prom was a big success! We had the generous support of the City of West Hollywood, AND we had the incredibly generous partnership with The West Hollywood EDITION Hotel who donated their venue. The party was so fun and fabulous! Everyone was dressed up and showed OUT! Our red carpet was lit and I am just so grateful for all the support.
Stay tuned for Queer Prom 2024!
You bring community together in big expressive ways. Would you say that is the spark for your ideas and creations? That they in turn, spark creativity and kinship in others?
NK: I have always had a love of turning ideas into reality. I’ve been a Producer for over 20 years and it’s what I love to do because it brings so many people together. When we all work together, we can make anything happen. That was a lesson I learned at a very young age when I produced my first live concert in high school. I also learned that when you create something beautiful, it does indeed inspire others… for me, I want to inspire healing and unity.
Please share with us the purpose in your many ventures? The NiK Kacy philosophy of life.
NK: It’s funny you ask this question because my purpose has been the one thing that has driven me all these years. When I was a child, I felt lost, unwanted and sad to be alive because I was so different and didn’t have the understanding of what it was that made me different. The world didn’t accept me or people like me and there was no one else I could look to as an example or that it was ok to feel this way. It took me many years to figure out how to be my authentic self and to find purpose in my existence. Now I live a life filled with joy and adventure because I get to set an example and hope that someone will find their voice through seeing me live my best life. Someone will feel love because I share my love and create events and things that help them be themselves. Being of service and creating joy for others is my purpose and gives me a reason to breathe. Recently though I’ve also learned to make time for myself and that my purpose can be more than just being of service. My philosophy now is to just live everyday like it’s my last and be grateful for that day because you never know how much time you have.
WeHo’s annual Rainbow Key Awards are coming up on January 30th – an award you once received and are now involved in hosting as part of your commissioner role – a full circle moment.
NK: I’ve always really been inspired attending the Rainbow Key Awards. It felt monumental. As I’ve gotten more involved in the community over the years, seeing peers winning these awards, really drove me to do my best and always do more for the community.
NK: In 2021, I received my very own Rainbow Key Award and it felt surreal to me because I still remember that young queer kid watching in the back of others receiving their award and thinking to myself, “I want to make an impact like them”. I share all this to say, you never know the importance of these celebrations and honors because it inspired a kid like me to become an advocate for our community and to find ways to empower, enrich and educate those around me.
The City’s Rainbow Key Awards recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. 2024 nominations may be submitted electronically at www.weho.org/rainbowkey. Deadline is January 31st.
NK: I know each of you know someone who inspired or inspires you and this is your chance to honor them. Awards themselves isn’t the reward, it is the acknowledgement of those around you that your impact made a difference to them that means something. That’s what it meant to me and empowered me to keep doing what I’m doing.
And with that – “The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe in the Beauty of Their Dreams” – – Eleanor Roosevelt
WATCH 📺 NiK Kacy! 🏳️⚧️ Queer Prom Equality Fashion Week 🏳️🌈 Red carpet interviews with fashion creator/producer NiK Kacy and more LGBTQ+ movers and shakers! Laith Ashley, Nico Craig, Brian Michael Smith, Jessica Clark, Bamby Salcedo.
To learn more about EFW – go to www.equalityfashionweek.com