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This Photo Series Celebrates Living—and Dressing—Transparently

In a new series commissioned by INTO, photographer Kristiina Wilsonand stylist Christopher Quartermanexplore the concept of transparency in both literal and figurative ways, shooting models in striking see-through garments and asking them about openness and honesty in their lives and relationships. The result? A revealing look at how clothing and identity intersect and influence each other in everyday life.

Check out the portraits and Wilson’s interviews with her subjects below.

Merlot / @yung.merlot

Who is your style icon?
Erykah Badu through & through.

What’s your favorite item of clothing?
A jacket my mother made me that says “Merlot” with a glass of red wine made of rhinestones.

How did wearing the transparent garments in the shoot make you feel?
I felt more exposed than I usually do but it felt affirming. I enjoy being *seen* lately.

Do you dress for yourself or others or both?
I dress mainly for myself, but a lot of what I think looks good is determined by what I think people want to see me in. I definitely return to and repeat silhouettes that get me the most attention when I leave my house.

How does much of a role does transparency play in your life — i.e. being clear about who you are, what you want, etc.
For a long time I was very secretive about who I was, but over time I discovered that the louder I showcased my sincere self, the more I enjoyed my life. My friend groups became closer, my relationships were more fulfilling, and I found myself getting way more opportunities in general. The blessings certainly escalate the more transparent I become.

Do you feel like your generation/peers are more or less concerned about protection/stds/safety when it comes to sexuality and dating than previous generations?
I won’t say that we’re necessarily more concerned, but I think we know so much more about that safety than any previous generations. With all of the knowledge we now have regarding STIs and such, it’s becoming more of a chore to not care about your safety than caring.

Is there anything you wish we could all be more open and honest about?
Well, in a perfect world it would be amazing if everyone could be open and honest about all things regarding their gender and sexuality, but it would be ignorant for me to assume that everyone right now is granted the space and the safety to openly be who they are. Some people aren’t open or honest because they have no choice, and that’s completely valid.

Pan Dulce / @espandulce

Who is your style icon?
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West.

What’s your favorite item of clothing?
Vivienne Westwood penis choker

How did wearing the transparent garments in the shoot make you feel?
It felt like I was too covered up, lol! I wear “crazy” shit like this all the time! So was fun to wear something modest for once!

Do you dress for yourself or others or both?
First things first I never dress for others! I dress for myself or for the occasion. Never take the time to impress someone else by how you express yourself through your clothing!

How does much of a role does transparency play in your life — i.e. being clear about who you are, what you want, etc.
Growing up in a small town I grew up with the ideas of having to mask or cover up myself in order to fit in. Moving to the city I found it refreshing and somehow also off-putting that cities can be so full of such transparent people.

Now I know that may sound rude, but what I mean by that is the people that I’ve encountered while living here have been the most real, genuine, and completely honest people I’ve ever met. Because of that, I’ve become more confident about the things I want to achieve in life and not being afraid of what others may think, because I know I have a strong support system

Do you feel like your generation/peers are more or less concerned about protection/stds/safety when it comes to sexuality and dating than previous generations?
We’re shifting towards a more monogamous future now that it’s becoming the norm to be any part of the gender spectrum and still be in a happy relationship. So I think with that it’s become much more important to take care of ourselves and know our stats.

Is there anything you wish we could all be more open and honest about?
Although we are making steps forward towards better sexual health, I do believe there’s still this gray area or this feeling of embarrassment of sitting in a clinic waiting to get tested or get your results. I think we need to make it more accepting and more encouraged or rewarded even! It doesn’t make you a hoe or slut by getting tested, it makes you a smart individual. It’s so easy for us to get someone’s or Instagram handle or phone number– it should be just as easy to tell them your sexual stats.

Mars Hobrecker / @marshobrecker

Who is your style icon?
I don’t think I have one! I generally find myself drawn more to specific pieces, colors, and textures than I am to any one person’s style.

What’s your favorite item of clothing?
This amazing pair of green pants from Anntian that I wear literally everyday. They feel like pajamas and look like a renaissance painting.

How did wearing the transparent garments in the shoot make you feel?
It brought me back! I used to spend a lot of time going out and performing at bars, and there was definitely a moment when I was wearing a lot of plastic clothing. My style of dress has gotten a lot quieter as I’ve grown into myself, but it was sort of fun to revisit looks that I know a former self would have LOVED.

Do you dress for yourself or others or both?
Most days I just dress for comfort! I spend most of my time at my studio where everything inevitably gets covered in ink, so I’m way more likely to throw on some dirty jeans than the cute Gucci collecting dust in my closet.

How does much of a role does transparency play in your life — i.e. being clear about who you are, what you want, etc.
I try to be completely transparent in as many aspects of my life as possible. I’m privileged to live in a body that is very unlikely to be read as threatening to people, regardless of my presentation, so it’s been a very long time since I’ve tried to alter or hide that aspect of myself.

With work, though, it’s a constant process! Learning to set boundaries and be transparent in terms of my ground rules and what I can and can’t do for my clients is definitely something I’m consistently trying to navigate. It’s led to me sending a lot of nerve-wracking emails, but being clear about my needs and abilities has ultimately led to a much healthier work/life balance and probably much happier clients!

Do you feel like your generation/peers are more or less concerned about protection/stds/safety when it comes to sexuality and dating than previous generations?
I think folks would be way less concerned if information and resources were more accessible. There’s still so much misinformation out there about how things can be transmitted and prevented, and I think that unfortunately leads to a culture of fear that encourages people to NOT get tested, because they’re scared to know the results and because we live in a country where HIV is still criminalized.

In the past month the FDA finally acknowledged that undetectable = untransmittable, and things like PEP and PrEP allow for an even lower chance of infection, but boys on apps still have shit like “CLEAN ONLY” in their bios. It’s ridiculous and does nothing but further stigma. I would love to say my generation has a better handle on how to be hot and take care of ourselves, but we still have a long way to go! I think the only way to move forward is through education (for people of all ages), especially sex education that of course goes further than abstinence but also further than championing condoms as the be-all end-all of safer sex, and a push to end HIV criminalization and stigma around all STDs.

Is there anything you wish we could all be more open and honest about?
Everything? I can think of very little that would benefit from dishonesty!

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Credits

Models:

PAN DULCE / @espandulce
MARS HOBRECKER / @marshobrecker
MERLOT / @yung.merlot

Photographer:

KRISTIINA WILSON
@Kristiinawilson
http://kristiinawilson.com

Styling:

CHRISTOPHER QUARTERMAN
@lejoursdechris
http://www.christopherquarterman.com

Makeup Artist:

KATIE MELINGER
@ktmell
http://www.katiemellinger.com

Designers featured:

Laurel Dewitt
Laruicci
Haus of Topper
Priscavera
Namilia
Noah Pica
Neil Grotzinger
Christian Cowan
Philipp Plein
Patrick Church
Assembly NY