FIELDTESTED | Divyalakshmi Suressh

A year ago, we committed to a range that celebrates multiple sizes and we asked our #mattertribe to be a part of a community shoot. One of the questions that often surface up for brands is how involved should we get in politics? As a team and brand grounded on the pillars of social change and equality, we felt we wanted to do our part in becoming more involved and vocal in the existing conversations of our community. June was Pride Month, a time to celebrate the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has had on the world and to commemorate the ones before who’ve fought hard for the progress today. Which is why for this year’s community shoot, we wanted to celebrate people who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in Singapore, to celebrate their stories and spotlight the existing conversations here. 

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What’s your “story”? What do you need the world to know about you?

I’m fluid and ever changing. I don’t know if I even know myself. I’m a small person with a lot of feelings. I’ve always had trouble defining myself, from my sexuality to my gender identity to even my career path.

Artist, writer, and performer – you are knee deep in the creative field. Do you tend to keep your political and personal ideologies separate from your creative endeavors, or are there instances where the two come hand in hand?

My politics are all inherently in relation to who I am, and so is everything I create. I consider most of my art political in some capacity, weather subtle or overt. Because my existence, my identity and all the ways it is layered and intersected is political.

What are some materials (books, movies, articles, or otherwise) you’d recommend for people to engage with to learn more about LGBTQIA+ culture?

LGBTQIA+ culture can’t be seen as a monolith because it is something that exists and has existed globally. The spectrum is huge and I am still in the process of discovering it (and truly will never finish) But a great place to start is by paying the Wares Library at Soft/Wall/Studs a visit. They have a ton of books, zines, journals and all sorts of publications, including a couple of zines I made! (Self promo, I know.) Consuming LGBTQ+ media by queer people from all walks of life is important in getting a multidimensional view of the community.

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Section 377A is an unjust law that punishes the LGBTQIA+ community, and it is an extension of all other forms of discrimination the community faces in Singapore. In your words, why should the Parliament hold themselves accountable in repealing this law?

377A is more than just about gay rights. It’s is one of the few remaining holds that British colonisation has on this country. Just as it did in India. While we are physically no longer under colonial rule, we still have many toxic (racist, sexist etc.) sociopolitical ideas that came from colonization and repealing 377A would be an important step towards changing the fabric of society.

What does sustainability mean to you?

When it comes to textiles, sustainability is using renewable recourses as much as possible to produce clothing. It’s providing garment workers with a healthy, comfortable working environment and a living wage. It’s not appropriating designs from other cultures without permission. It is rooted in treating the craft of making clothes and the earth with respect.

What is the relationship you have with your clothes?

I don’t have a good relationship with clothes because I don’t have the best relationship with my body. I’m still on a journey of trying to find comfort in my body rather than oversized men’s shirts that swallow my torso.

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#ChangeBeyondTextiles is…

Change that extends to people and communities. Change that lasts.

What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?

I stand for decolonization, indigenous sovereignty and liberation. Land back.

What’s your advice to ____? Fill in that blank, and then fill in your advice.

To anyone in a position of privilege: Shhh. Listen. This isn’t about you.

To any young queer brown people: You are the future. You are loved. Don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever stifle your voice.

We are proud to have Divyalakshmi Suressh as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Div is wearing our Sideswept Dhoti + Kirana in size 2, and Classic Wideleg + Indus Arrow Noir in size 2.


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