Rebirth Garments challenges mainstream beauty standards that are gender binary, sizest, ableist, and racist by using the ideology of Radical Visibility as a guide. Radical Visibility is an unapologetic refusal to assimilate, a claim to our bodies, and a celebratory insistence on highlighting the parts of us that society typically shuns. Rebirth Garments embodies Radical Visibility through the use of bright colors, exuberant fabrics, and innovative designs.
Chainmaille is a signature part of Rebirth Garments wearables and is central to my process as a disabled artist. The intensive and repetitive handwork of chainmaille has been the catalyst to every other medium that I pursue, and I experience the slow and thoughtful process as calming to my mind and a way to gain patience and the strength to be social. Rebirth Garments is my soft armor. This armor does not protect against harm, but is a way to give me courage as a queer person of color to go out into the world. I understand clothing, especially the foundation garment closest to our skin, to be our second skin. This foundation has the power to change the way we hold ourselves and give us the confidence and strength to feel comfortable in our first skin.
Instead of centering on cisgender, heterosexual, white, thin, able bodied/minded people, Rebirth Garments is centered on QueerCrip identity. QueerCrip is a politicized umbrella term that encompasses queer and gender nonconforming identities as well as apparent and non-apparent disability identity. Centering QueerCrip identity builds coalition between queer and disabled people and recognizes the common experiences that we have as well as the unique experiences of queer and disabled people.
Instead of a typical stoic runway style, my “fashion shows” are more like celebratory dance parties that feature models who are local and of various marginalized identities. I believe that feeling confident in one’s outward appearance can revolutionize one’s emotional and political reality. Thus, I use Rebirth Garments as a way to nurture a community of people who have often been excluded from mainstream fashion and to provide a platform for people to confidently express pride in their identity.
Sky Cubacub (pronounced KOO-bah-KOOB) (They/Them/Xe/Xem/Xyr) is a non-binary disabled Filipinx queer from Chicago, IL. Xe first took a chainmaille class from Rebeca Mojica of Blue Buddha Boutique when they were 13 years old because they were drawn to the stimmy nature of the medium, and ended up finishing their project by the time everyone else had only completed an inch. This led xem to create Repetitive Motions, a debut collection of eighteen garments in June 2010, which directly resulted in xem starting Rebirth Garments, a line of wearables for trans, queer and disabled people of all sizes and ages, which started in summer 2014.
Sky is the editor of the Radical Visibility Zine, a full color cut and paste style zine that celebrates disabled queer life, with an emphasis on joy. As a multidisciplinary artist, Sky is interested in fulfilling the needs for disabled queer life, with an emphasis on joy. Additionally they are the Access Brat and the editor of a section on ethics and inclusion called “Cancel & Gretel” at literary fashion magazine “Just Femme and Dandy”. Sky has also created a queer fashion program series with Chicago Public Library Called Radical Fit.
They have had over 45 fashion performances and lectured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Utah, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University. Rebirth Garments has been featured in Teen Vogue, Nylon, Playboy, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Vice, Wussy Mag, and the New York Times. Sky was named 2018 Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and is a 2019/2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist and a Disability Futures Fellow.