We had the good fortune of connecting with Caspian Keskin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Caspian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Ever since I was young I always had a big interest in fashion. In my teen years I discovered Harajuku street fashion and became fully immersed in it – since then it’s become a part of my every day life. I also came out as transmasculine and queer in my mid 20s, and starting expressing myself in a more masculine way. I noticed there was a distinct lack of fashion options out there for those of us who were more masculine leaning, but still wanted to be colourful, cute and wear Harajuku fashion. Accessing clothes from Japan was quite hard and expensive, and I’ve always been low income my whole life, living paycheck to paycheck. So it just made sense that I finally did what I always wanted to do – create a brand that was gender-inclusive and priced in a way that kept it accessible to lower income folks.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My aim for my brand was to be as gender-inclusive as possible. All my clothes are unisex, there’s no binary limitations. I myself am non-binary. The clothes I wear are because I like them, not because of what I’m expected to wear, leaning towards one binary or another. I also focus on having merch that is inclusive of all gender identities, sexualities and pronouns. My proudest achievement so far is my Pride & Pronoun Enamel Pin collection. Within the collection are cute, pastel enamel pins that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities. I am continuously focusing on expanding my range to include lesser known pronouns and identities. I feel it’s important to create products that truly reflect the diversity we have in the LGBTQ+ community, and not focus only on the most well known aspects – we are all different and should all have access to products that represent who we are. I also encourage cisgender folk to wear pronoun pins, as I feel like normalising telling/showing your pronouns, or asking when you’re unsure, is a positive step in helping trans and non-binary folk feel more comfortable and welcomed wherever they go.

My main drive to continue with my brand is giving people access to products like these, that I never had when I was younger. I didn’t grow up with a lot, I didn’t have much access to LGBTQ+ content, I lived in countries that weren’t so open-minded and were dangerous places to be out as LGBTQ+. I wanted to give back to a community that had given me so much. After I graduated university (with a major in Japanese language), I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I went straight into working minimum wage retail, in London, and was barely able to pay bills, let alone start a business. It was thanks to my friends, family and community, that I was able to launch projects to create funds to get me started. Once the pandemic hit and lockdown had a lot of us stuck in our houses and being paid by the government to do so, I was left with a lot of spare time to really knuckle down and focus on products and making art – rather than worrying how I was going to pay bills and being exhausted all the time. Since then it’s been an amazing journey and at the end of 2021 I became a full time self employed, relying solely on my business.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shoutout the trans community. Without your support, knowledge and acceptance, without my queer chosen family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would never have felt comfortable enough to come out, to follow my dream of being a brand owner, to live 100% for myself, true to myself. I’m so grateful to be able to pass on my knowledge to younger trans folk still figuring themselves out, and help them find themselves, the way the trans community helped me.

Website: etsy.com/shop/darlingaslan

Instagram: instagram.com/darlingaslan, instagram.com/caspiankeskin

Twitter: twitter.com/darlingaslan

Youtube: youtube.com/caspiankeskin

Other: TikTok: tiktok.com/@darlingaslan , tiktok.com/@caspiankeskin

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