Brandon Ferderer Wants You To Throw Away Your Flip-Flops and Put On Clothes That Fit You
Andie Flores Brandon Ferderer knows that a bike is an accessory, too.
Growing up, Brandon Ferderer wore a lot of shirts with his own picture on them.
The 36-year-old Arizona State University Hugh Downs School of Human Communication instructor would get someone to take a photograph of him, and then he'd put it on a T-shirt. "I did that into my late 20s," he says. "If one T-shirt got too small, I would cut out my picture and put it on top of another T-shirt. I loved the way people both hated it and loved it."
Ferderer, who is also a solo narrative performer with past performances at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and other venues across the Valley and country, has experimented with a lot of different looks. They're all part of his day-to-day performance.
"Every time we step out of the house, we're performing our identities to others, and style is part of that performance." Ferderer knows that if he looks totally ridiculous one day, it is only a question of Who am I performing today, and how will people react?
Originally from the small town of Elko, Nevada, he's come a long way from the homogenous fashion sense of the birthplace of cowboy poetry. Living in New York, San Francisco, and traveling to the UK have all been part of his experimentation, and each of these places has served as a place to grab inspiration from.
Ferderer, however, says he still isn't completely confident when he gets dressed in the morning. As a kid, Ferderer wore plenty of sports jackets and hats, and used that as a way to perform in a way that he thought was an "appropriate" masculine style. "When I finally came to the terms that I might not be representative of masculinity, I realized that part of that was a performance of the closeted self."
After he came out, Ferderer found himself struggling and adopting style that was a reflection of what he thought gay culture to be. It wasn't until the last decade that he began to figure out what his look really is.
"I would love to say that I don't pull my style from pop culture, but that would be a blatant lie," he says. "I pull from what's happening culturally, but I have to make it my own. The reason being, here's what's happening in fashion right now, and here's my body type. I have to try things out to see how they fit on my body." Ferderer is a firm believer that anyone can look amazing in anything as long as the clothing actually fits their body the way it's supposed to.
The learning that comes with the constant experimentation in everyday performances is what Ferderer likes most about style. "When we perform our identities through style, and if we're confident, that becomes part of how we engage in the world. You don't quite know how people are going to react, but that helps you better understand what your own individual style is."