A good friend of mine once told me that in reality there is no such thing as luck. “Luck,” he told me, “is the coming together of hard work and opportunity.”
This bite-sized life lesson stuck with me and like the most annoying type of motivational speaker, I try and spring it on people in a lot of situations. Like now, for instance. It came to mind when I spoke with the founder and creator of Queer Booth, Jo Webber.
The person who had spent a decade prior working in LGBTQ media – hard work – pretty much fell into the idea of creating Queer Booth – the fun, fashion-based ‘Lookbook’ iPhone app – during the course of one fine day in London. Opportunity!
“It came from a chat I was having with friends back in 2012 at Shoreditch House in London,” Jo tells BaDoink. “My compadre whipped out her iPad and we started playing with a fun photo booth application, sharing pictures with friends affixing accessories like hats, scarves and moustaches onto snaps we took of one another. But was there a ‘Queer Booth’? I had a quick search and the answer was a resounding ‘no’. The eureka moment!
“I’d been looking for a LGBTQ project to call my own, having been involved in LGBTQ media for nearly ten years, and there it was staring me in the face. A chance to showcase all the beautiful diversity and fashion-based fun of our community in one shiny, sparkly app.”
Shiny and sparkly is about right. Queer Booth lets users play with different looks, fashions and modes but it also holds a deeper message. In the new age of same-sex marriage acceptance and a growing sense of recognition with all of the hard work of the transgender community – as well as what seems to be certain sections of society just being whoever and whatever they want to be – this notion of having to hide in the shadows is becoming increasingly beamed on by the bright lights of progression. Queer Booth is another step in that direction. It has to start somewhere, doesn’t it?
Jen has imbued Queer Booth with this philosophy. What may seem like a game to some may just be the key to self-acceptance in another.
“Its intention is certainly to be fun and fashion-based but there is also a broader message around ‘seeing yourself differently’. ‘Queer’ was originally a derogatory term but – in more recent times – has been reclaimed by the broader community and is a self-identifier for many, of all persuasions. For us, it’s an umbrella term which allows us the opportunity to showcase the diversity and flamboyance of a community with a range of styles and looks. The app is about empowerment, celebration and self-expression.”
Head over to the ‘Dressing Room’ and select an image from your camera or from a pre-existing image on the gallery. Next, choose from a range of free and unlocked designs, which can be customised by colour and style. Select these assets to get the look you want. You can customise captions too. Hit ‘Make Me Over’ and voila, your new snap fabulous look awaits! And with its smart face detection capabilities, you won’t have to worry about alignment and all those other fiddly problems other style apps can bring forth.
Only a week after being made available on the App Store, Queer Booth is already letting imaginations and fashions run wild. You can throw together a rather rare ‘eco fetish’ look, go for the ‘gym girl goes disco’ ensemble or just indeed whatever takes your fancy at the time.
There’s plenty of styles and combos to choose from – police, urban, bear, pride, 70s to name a few from a rather long list – and Jo is even keen to hear suggestions from our readers too.
“My mission was and still is to make Queer Booth something which empowers the community, their allies and in the future – fashion retailers and LGBTQ-identified and LGBTQ-friendly celebrities,” enthuses Jo.
“The other lovely and touching element is the support we’ve had from our straight allies. Our objective is to continue listening to feedback, iterate and iterate some more and finally, build long-lasting partnerships and alliances with artists, designers and brands who believe in our mission.”