Hi Everyone, it’s Jade from Programming posting again for a friend. Her name is Caitlin Rose Sweet, and she has a rad idea for a collaborative piece for the art show. Send her your leopard print cast offs! The deadline to submit to this particular project (and not the artshow itself is JULY 1ST)

I laid in bed with a lover trying to remember all the pieces of leopard print clothing I own, jeans, pants, skirts, blouses, long dresses, short dresses, bras, panties, leggings, socks, heels, etc. I couldn’t remember them all. Later that day, my housemate comes bouncing through the living room with two layers of leopard print looking hella good. Its clear to me that femmes (granted not all femmes) have a thing for this big cat look. I see it on my body, my friends, my lovers, and all over my community. Anything with those spots catches my eye and I want want want it. I feel sexy, fierce, embodied, hot as hell, and at home when I am decked out head to toe in leopard print. As a textile artist I am constantly thinking about how clothes, prints, and patterns effect us, change us, and represent us. As queers we are constantly flashing our gender and sexuality through our fashion. Fashion and femme presentation changes from micro community to micro community and are deeply rooted in our individualism, race, class, and culture. The rise queer fashion blogs and social networking as provided some much fashion sharing and its clear femmes are loving leopard print. Why? And what are we saying with this print?

Leopard print signifies royalty, wealth, power, animal sexuality, femininity, glamour, and social status. No wonder we love it. But how did this print come to be all of this? There is no way to separate this print from the animal and land it comes from. Africa. The kings and queens of the Zulu nation and other African people have been wearing the hides of leopards to denote their status and power. When the Europeans came for conquest and conquer, leopard skins and their meaning was stolen and appropriated. FUCK. Like many of our fashions and traditions, leopard print has a charged and complicated history. But still I/you/we wear this all over our precious bodies. This piece is not about saying no, or shaming but just stating the fact that we can’t escape the racist roots of this exotic print and textile. How leopard looks like and what it says, changes from body to body that carries it into the public sphere. My white skin wears it differently than femmes of color. But we all wearing it. This piece is about exploring and sharing our love of fashion, fierce sexuality, bold self love, and the complication of radical femme identity in a fucked up world.

I am calling on you my fellow femmes to share some leopard print with me. A main component of my art praxis is audience participation, mainly collecting textiles from my community to make art about us and the clothes on our backs. I need your leopard print scraps! Send me that blouse with the stubborn stain down the front, your worn out sheets, trimmings from the dress that had to be shorter to show off those sexy legs, scarves that have gone forgotten at bottom of the hat box, that awkward number from the free box you have never altered, anything with some big cat love on it. I will transform it into a beautiful layered wall hanging piece for the Femme Conference Putting the Pieces Together 2012. I will also list all the femmes who donated to this project.

Much love,

Caitlin Rose


2026 Woolsey St

Berkeley, Ca 94703



2 Responses to Leopard Print: A Collaborative Femme Art Piece

  1. Fiercelady says:

    Your white guilt is misplaced. Leopards are the most abundant and resourceful big cats in the world. They are in Persia, India, Northern China, and Russia (Amur leopards). Everyone loves leopards, their valorous ferocity and their beauty; and the shamanic archetype is there for us all to admire and aspire to as humans.

    • caitlin sweet says:

      I think its important to talk about the fact that imperialism and fashion go hand in hand and gets passed down through out history. what i am talking about is that leopard print or skin is strongly connected with people of Africa. and that everyone loves leopard print but leopard means different things on different bodies.

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