For anyone who has watched an episode of Jason’s Closet—the irreverent, hilarious web series hosted by London nightlife mainstay Miss Jason—his effortless charisma and outrageous sense of humor are impossible to forget. (And for those who haven’t, where have you been?) Whether he’s exploring underground queer club nights in Dalston, or taking a trip to the races at Royal Ascot, Jason’s first-person deep dives into lesser-known corners of British culture make for endlessly compulsive viewing.
But in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the end of May, and with Pride month now underway, Jason decided to call on the stylish characters that fill his proverbial Rolodex to support a more serious cause: the UKQTIBIPOC Hardship Fund, a UK-based grassroots organization fundraising for queer, trans and intersex people of color. “Essentially I wanted to use my platform and connections to do something positive for my community,” Jason explains. “I want to use the fashion industry to affect real change, and help the people it otherwise ostracizes and appropriates.”
The end product is a charity flash sale (to which Jason has lended the typically cheeky title “Cleaning Out My Closet”) featuring an array of second-hand designer pieces donated by members of Jason’s community, including FKA Twigs, Neneh Cherry, and music manager Grace Ladoja. “I’ve just been sent the most mind-blowing, exquisitely detailed press-on nails from Sylvie MacMillan that are to die for,” he says when I ask him for his personal highlights. “We’ve also got some fab Ottolinger jeans from the singer Celeste, and what I’m calling the ‘It girl’ Burberry jacket, donated by my good friend, make-up artist Daniel Sallstrom.” Also in the mix are vintage pieces from Jean-Paul Gaultier, Miu Miu, and Alexander Wang, as well as more recent designs donated by the likes of Martine Rose, Xander Zhou, and Ashish.
To show off the fashions in all their glory, Jason enlisted the help of friends photographer Roxy Lee, stylist Josh Tuckley, and casting director Chloe Rosolek. “We managed to secure some amazing models in literally 24 hours,” he says of the last-minute shoot. “Luckily our community is extremely close-knit, so we were able to shoot multiple members of a couple of households. I wanted to shoot somewhere where people felt comfortable—a large space that represents what I want the world to look like after the COVID crisis.”
And while Jason would usually be found spending Pride month tearing up the dancefloor, or presenting his latest episode at the city’s annual UK Black Pride event, this year, he believes that taking a moment to reflect isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “I think what we should take from right now is the remembrance that Pride was a protest before it was a party,” he says. “Since you can’t adorn your rainbow glitter, take this time to research the origins of Pride, what it means, where and who it came from, and the very real struggles still experienced today.”
He hopes the concurrence of Black Lives Matter protests and Pride month can be an opportunity for the fashion industry to learn important lessons and do better when it comes to supporting queer Black talent. “It’s what’s been said time and time again: by putting Black queer people in lead roles of companies,” he adds. “The same can be said for women, POC, and people with disabilities. Listen to us, give us a platform, give us space, pay us correctly and on time, and all things are achievable.”
But in the meantime, he notes that you can offer more immediate support, however small, by purchasing an item from Jason’s flash sale, which will be running on Depop from Friday until Sunday. Although not before he delivers his signature send-off: “Smooches and smooches!”