For the last two years, I have posted my own Rarely Wears Lipstick Women of The Year lists as a way to celebrate the wonderful women I have come into contact throughout the previous 12 months. This is an opportunity to spread the word, give thanks where they’re due, and celebrate achievements of any kind. There were so many contenders that it was tricky to narrow it down, but here’s the final list. Here are the women who’ve made an impression on me, and why they’re important. Meet the Rarely Wears Lipstick Women of the Year 2013!
- Amanda Leon-Joyce – It’s the third time in a row on this list for Amanda. This year she ran the London Marathon, expanded Irreverent Dance to teach 257 students over 26 courses with 7 teachers, changed her name and started what seems to be the hardest MA course on the planet. Does this woman every stop? Nope. Well, only for kitten cuddles.
- Amber Jane Butchart – Another epic multi-tasker, Amber teaches at London College of Fashion, is one half of DJ duo the Broken Hearts (who have a show on Jazz FM), and is also researching a book. This year I saw her interview the Fabulous Fashionistas and give a talk at the V&A on women, drag and British Music Hall. Amber is living proof that you can have style and substance.
- Gemma Seager – Rarely Wears Lipstick Award winner and founder of Retro Chick, Gemma now has even more blogs (on vintage, dresses and running!) and is a member of the Norfolk Brawds roller derby team, where she is known as Gem Warfare. I still haven’t quite worked out how she combines exercise with looking so glamorous, but her tales of a derby newbie have cheered me up no end.
- Paris Lees – To use her own words, 2013 has been rather intense for Paris Lees. I saw her contribute to the fascinating Gender & Sexuality Talks trans* panel in August, which was one of many speaking engagements in the year that she became the first trans* presenter on both Channel 4 and Radio 1. Paris has also been involved with the wonderful All About Trans campaign, appeared on Question Time, and has written for a lot of mainstream press.
- Annette Barlow – As well as providing “90s disco for rebel girls and nancy boys” at Fanny Pack, Annette is the Founder and Editor of The Girls Are, a community website for and about women in music. They recently launched their first print edition, TGA Magazine. (You should probably order a copy right now.) Somehow, in amongst all this, she found time to get hitched too!
- Sarah Nicol – Sarah is the Inspiring Collections Officer for Leicestershire County Council which means she has the job of looking after things like Symington Collection of Corsetry, Foundation & Swimwear. While I was there doing research in March, some clumsy workers outside dug through a gas main and the lovely Sarah helped me find and get to a hotel nearby as my car was stranded. Hopefully there will be no drama when I go back next year. I don’t think Sarah will forget me in a hurry though!
- The Lingerie Lesbian – I met Caro when she visited London in July and it was an absolute pleasure. She doesn’t just blog about underwear, she has written about cultural appropriation, power and gender plus thoughts on fashion illustration drawn from her classes at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Going back to university to study fashion design was a brave step, but I think she’s got what it takes.
- Bethany Carman Rutter – The writer behind fatshion blog Arched Eyebrow, this year has been a busy one for Bethany who’s done a spot of modelling and a whole lot of DJing. Dancing On My Own is a fantastic queer-friendly, poly-friendly body-positive pop and disco night run by Bethany and the lovely Dennis “for your dancing pleasure”. She’s also rather good at dispensing with idiots on Twitter.
- Ophelia Bitz – I started the year spending some of my birthday money on a couple of bits that Bitz was selling while having a clear out. As an emcee, show woman and ring mistress, her wardrobe is rather flamboyant so they weren’t your everyday kind of frocks. Since then, I have seen her wrangling crowds, singing ditties and spreading a little bit of ArtWank love. It really is a Rarely Wears Lipstick kinda love.
- Jenny Rooney – Not only is she the colleague who has helped my team so much in the last few months that there are just not enough ways to say thank you, but Jenny is also studying BA Fashion Design part time at London College of Fashion. This is a woman who has decided that having spare time is a luxury that can wait until she has achieved her goal. Quite when she found time to bake those amazing mince pies for the office, I shall never know. Jenny, I salute you!
Photo of Amanda Leon-Joyce (leading the Irreverent Dancers at Pride London 2013) by James Brown.