One To Watch: HOMO

What do you get if you mix Mean Girls, Paris Hilton, Pokemon and Sailor Moon with a couple of beefy hot dudes? The answer is the coolest, and arguably cutest, new Queer label on the block that goes by the very stylish yet oh so subtle name HOMO. Created and founded in London by two handsome homos with a love for all things anime, bitchtastic memes and boys with buff bods, KALTBLUT gets downright homofied as we find out what it means to be HOMO and proud with brand creators Karl and Orestes. Pass the pink glitter yasssss fans in an orderly fashion please.

 KALTBLUT: First off, how did you guys come up with the name HOMO? 

 KARL: Well its actually a funny story, over the last few years the word Queer has become the way to describe any LBGTQ+ cultural element, when we were children it was something the bully on the school yard would call you to degrade us. We love how the word has been reclaimed from a negative/destructive to positive and joyful. Really we wanted to do the same for the word HOMO, to reclaim it and make it something based around positivity and strength. HOMO and proud! 

KALTBLUT: What made you both decide to create HOMO in the first place?

ORESTES: Individually we both had an interest in fashion, with t-shirts being the connecting element between our style. We started working with smaller queer brands promoting them through our ig accounts. After a few years we struggled to find something that truly represented us as individuals, often struggling to find brands offering something fresh and unique. After some thought and careful deliberation we decided to make our own brand, doing the things we love, taking risks and not playing by the rules. September 2018 HOMO was born.  

KALTBLUT: For those who don’t know a lot about HOMO, tell me the format in terms of collection drops, artists and how it all works etc?

KARL: Ah this is the fun part! Orestes and myself come up with central themes, often things we think are cool, geeky things, music things or anything queer culture related. We then reach out to queer illustrators on IG and ask if they would like to collaborate with us. We try and find artists that have very different styles from each other so there is a fresh and exciting mix of images for the customers to select from. Orestes and myself also design our t-shirts to the central themes keeping the illustrators connected, and although it looks very different they feel like they’re in the same family. We create two main collections each year, Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, with the odd mini collection here and there.

 KALTBLUT: What Do you think Sets HOMO apart from other Queer independent labels? 

KARL: What sets HOMO apart is you can feel the love and passion we share for the label – this and maybe my 15 years working in fashion and Orestes’ 16 years in graphic design and visual brand development LOL. 

KALTBLUT: Have you faced any negativity as a result of naming the brand HOMO? How have you overcome this?

KARL: I’m sorry to say we’ve had quite a bit, some from religious accounts, demanding we remove the images… others sending abusive messages and the most extreme was a photo of someone burning the lgbtq+ flag. Thankfully IG have always deleted and removed the offending accounts, but we just keep our head held high and move forward. For us, we understand that naming our business HOMO has literally put a target on our back for hate. If anything this shows the world we need more people to stand in the light rather than hide away scared. HOMO and proud. 

KATLBLUT: HOMO incorporates lots of different elements and genres found within the Queer community, what is your favourite aspect of this? 

ORESTES: I would say the nostalgic journey we take our customers on. Bringing back some of the things that defined us growing up and exploring that in the form of a cute tee. 

KALTBLUT: What’s your favourite design and style so far?

ORESTES: Ooh its a tough one! Can I pick one from each designer? Cause I think that way I can explain why and it makes more sense!

-Taoren’s ‘Hunter and Max, piggyback at sunset’ – I mean come on its soooo cuuuute

-Gufiart’s ‘Sailor-Bear Tee’ – because its giving me the best of both worlds. One of my absolute fave anime characters and a sexy bear in one. 

-Elthrowup ‘Queer Masters of the Universe He-Man’ – my cartoon crush giving the middle finger to toxic masculinity and looking fierce af.

-Mr. Mermaido’s ‘Juicy Pink muscle guy’ – Oh hello there! sexy n cute and with a jigglypuff phonecase?! Slurp!

KALTBLUT: O, you are massively involved in the DJ scene, how has the music side impacted on your design approach for HOMO? 

ORESTES: Well just like with music,-which very much applies to fashion too, you need to stay relevant and you need to stay on top. HOWEVER you should always stay true to yourself and inject your own personal point of view and identity in whatever you do. That’s what will set you apart from the rest 

KALTBLUT: You are both very comfortable with your bodies and very open online (we’ve all seen those tote bag shots wink emoji), what advice would you give to guys tackling body and image issues in 2019? 

ORESTES: As someone who has fought with body dysmorphia for many years I realised that in order to be happy I had to start working on loving myself and accepting my body for what it is. What society considers as beautiful is a totally man made thing. We’re all different and that’s what makes us unique. There’s no right or wrong. We’re all attracted to different shapes and have a different view of what we think is considered to be beautiful.

KALTBLUT: How did you both decide to feature yourselves in your campaigns rather than models per say?

ORESTES: We wanted our brand to be relatable and accessible to our customers. We want them to see themselves in our clothes.

KALTBLUT: If you could have one major celeb wear one of your t-shirts, who would it be and what design would you want them to wear? 

ORESTES: Mariah, shes my idol and Mean Girls is one of her fave movies. I’d love to see her in the ‘You can’t sit with us’ tee and Paris Hilton in our ‘Let’s get slutty” tee. That would totally be an iconic moment!

KALTBLUT: If you could have one HOMO collaboration with another brand who would it be and why?

 KARL: This is a tricky one.. Orestes and myself are huge Adidas fans, maybe something like that.. think Jeremy Scott meets Paris Hilton meets Sailormoon but HOMOoh and pink!

KALTBLUT: HOMO is all about that meme life, incorporating lots of anime, art and cartoon inspired styles. If you could be an animated character in one tv show who/what would it be and why? 

KARL: gosh, I should say Ash from Pokemon, but he’s actually not very good.. never won a single league battle.. sooo maybe Steven Universe, firstly fusion.. YES! And I love how he has pink weapons and powers and a cute little belly button gem. 

ORESTES: I like cartoon villains a lot. I find them extremely interesting so I’d say either Skeletor or Mumm-Ra (transformed version obvs!)

KALTBLUT: What can we expect to see from HOMO in the near future? 

Just more of the same, more amazing artists, more cute, fun and sassy tees. extending the range to colours, hoodies and maybe vests in the summer. We’re really just going forward with open minds and no expectations. Just happy to see where this road leads us.

KALTBLUT: Finally, tell me what HOMO means to you?

KARL: Homo means to me, giving zero fucks what anyone thinks, being cute with a little sass while embracing all people. 

ORESTES: Karl… please get out of my head

Final conclusion, definitely too gay to function. Say it with me, HOMO and proud! We are officially obsessed.

HOMO Links:

Meet the Designers:

Team Credit:
Photography & Creative Direction: Karl Slater @slaterkarl
Grooming: Ellen Coakley @ellen.coakleymua
Model: Anthony Loreto Vincent Schiavo @alvschiavo
Text: Lewis Robert Cameron @lrcfashionstylist
Artwork: Karl Slater