A brand as a safe place for young queers

Graduation. For some students the most nerve wracking part of their study – for others a party. We follow three graduates in this semester. Branding graduate Travis Rice is creating his own brand: “My graduation project needed to be something that screamed me 110%.”


Interview by Blanca Heise, 2nd year Int. Fashion & Branding. Photos by Blanca & Travis.


Do you remember when you got in to AMFI?

“A little. It feels ages ago. Yet, I was helping with the intakes this Spring, which got me reflecting on my own intake day. I remember being very naive and I had a superficial idea about fashion and even more about branding. I don’t feel that I really thought of fashion beyond the garments and I can say with certainty that I was not aware of the breadth and depth of the industry.”

Travis on the Amstel campus courtyard: “Amfi taught me how to stick to my guns.”

Travis on the Amstel campus courtyard: “Amfi taught me how to stick to my guns.”

Did your vision on fashion change over the years at AMFI?

“I’ve learned that I actually knew more than I thought. I just needed the vocabulary and the tools to realize this. Throughout my years at the institute, I feel I have obtained a third eye and ear, allowing me to gain new and different views upon the whole world, not only on fashion. A view which has made me critical, yet honest and a little unhinged at times. However, if AMFI has taught me anything it is to stick to your guns. Additionally I would say AMFI has taught me to constantly find the connection between things and constantly ask why. Specifically on branding, I realize how immense branding can be and what influence it has on people’s lives. Especially today, brands have more influence than corporations and governments.”

What motivated your graduation topic?

“For my graduation project I did not want to create a project that gives me enough credits to pass. For me, it needed to be something that I am passionate about, proud of, and screamed me 110%. I also know that the projects I do best in, are the ones that are the closest to my heart. Projects containing my own twist and personality. Taking my strengths that I have built through AMFI and making them shine, in order to create something meaningful, that could even perhaps be launched into reality.”

Travis’ working station at home, dedicated to his graduation project.

Travis’ working station at home, dedicated to his graduation project.

What is the starting point for your project?

“I will create my own brand concept based on the idea of genderqueerness. I got inspired by my own experiences being gay and how growing up in a small town in the USA and now living in Amsterdam, has altered my perspective on a lot of conventions. Mainly, to completely throw conventions out the window or at the very least question them. Unfortunately the gay community is not always a united one and I want to create a platform which brings a change to this, amongst many other things. What is important in this concept is that being queer is a mentality and not a sexuality. And that many desire to be different, but queers dare to be different.

My project is specifically targeting the youth to make an accessible and affordable high-street brand. A fashion brand for young queers that has the potential to be the safe place many don’t have. Trust me, I know. Thus I want my brand to give queer youth the courage to stand-up, be shameless, as they freely create an identity for themselves that is reflective of who they are.”

Currently, the solution for genderless clothing is to go gender-neutral, however, the target group/Gender-Expansive (depends on which image you pick), show the direction Travis wants to go.

Currently, the solution for genderless clothing is to go gender-neutral, however this image (Gender-Expansive) shows the direction Travis wants to go.

What is your future goal?

“Working as a teacher in my previous career has made me aware of the change you make, which I sometimes miss in the fashion industry. The spotlights seem to always go to designers, models or the hottest new item. This is a small fraction of what truly goes on, and in my eyes, the least important. I either hope to work for a brand that is seeking to make social, political, and/or environmental change. If I cannot find one that suits me, I’ll launch my own. It is time we as members of the industry #getourshittogether and find ways to better the world and not just take from it.”


You can read & see more about Travis on his website!

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