Rated Reads shares our pick of the best content from around the web. This week: non-binary bridal wear and the meaning behind the Internet's brand new buzzword "Cheugy".


Get To Know This Non-Binary, Billy-Porter-Approved Bridal Label

From Curtis Cassell’s gender-norm-defying fashion label, Queera, comes a dramatic, sensual bridal collection tailored for the LGBTQIA+ community and more. Counting among Queera’s fans is Billy Porter, who wore the designer’s blue shirt dress to an Oscars after-party this year.

“While Cassell’s clothes have a fantasy touch, they’re based in architecture.” writes Liana Satenstein in Vogue.  “The designer, who learned to sew from his mother and “old ladies on YouTube,” grew up in a small town in Ohio and left to attend a small college in Chicago where he studied graphic design and architecture with a concentration in furniture. “Everything was just so on the computer and the deeper I got into college, the more I needed to make things with my hands,” says Cassell. It was around 2007, which Cassell refers to as the “Lady Gaga era” when he was making “wearable sculptures”. The local drag community caught wind, and Cassell began making custom pieces for them.”

After realizing that there was an overwhelming lack of non-gender-specific clothing for weddings, Cassell decided to plug the gap. His latest designs flow along the spectrum from feminine to masculine. With their Renaissance puffs and blustering chiffons, this bridal collection offers fluid clothes to luxuriate in.


Being Cheugy Has Come for Me – and It’ll Come for You Too

“Cheugy”, meaning “to be out of date or trying too hard” according to the New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz, is the latest TikTok term to spread like wildfire across social media – already multiple Instagram accounts are dedicated to the “cheugylife” – and into the mainstream realm. Lauren O’Neill’s take on the trend in Vice is an endearingly honest read which we can all relate to. She writes:

“My very first response to discovering the world of cheuginess was alarm. It was the first time I’d seen one of those articles describing a funny internet word or phenomenon and had no idea what it was. It was also humbling because much of what seemed to be implicated as cheugy sounded like things I genuinely enjoy, such as calling people “girlie” (started as a joke, now I just do it) and getting a blow-dry, which I consider to be one of life’s most appealing luxuries. As a lot of commentators have pointed out, “cheugy” – a word invented by a 23-year-old – feels in some ways like a byword for “old”.”

Reflecting on cheugyness as another symptom of a generational divide, O’Neill concludes “ultimately, I think cheuginess probably comes for everyone in the end – as does ageing.” Great.


The Quietus | Features | Anois, Os Ard: May In Irish Underground Music By Eoin Murray

Eoin Murray’s ninth review round-up in The Quietus of the best tracks from the Irish underground scene encompasses “rural kosmische”, improvised psychodelia and “culchie surrealism”. This, Murray explains, is “a loose descriptor that encompasses anything from Gaelic vaporwave and plunderphonic noise to queasy trip hop, donk, digital hardcore and countless other indescribable sounds. Culchie surrealism is an online scene-of-sorts, based primarily around two labels: Dollar Pickle Records in Kerry, and Scauldwave Records in Wexford. Between them, they’ve released well over 100 albums, EPs and compilations, with roughly 40 artists releasing on each, using a plethora of outlandish pseudonyms.”

The general gist is to put together chaotic and mismatched sounds as quickly and incoherently as possible. Murray explains further: “The North Kerry Noise manifesto goes deeper into the artless nature of the music on Dollar Pickle: “You Must Have Your Song Titles Written Before Any Music Gets Written”; “You Can’t Spend More Than Half An Hour On Making A Track”; “Being Serious, In Any Way Shape Or Form, Is Not Tolerated”.”

Young generations in Ireland particularly are rallying behind the genre. “Culchie surrealism is basically just taking all the usual tropes that one would have experienced growing up in rural Ireland and bastardising them until it fits into what we’re trying to do,” says Dollar Pickle’s Mr Pickle. We are certainly intrigued.


The rapper behind “Old Town Road” – the song that was everywhere in summer 2019 – is back with a new album, ‘Montero’. Lil Nas X is also this month’s GQ Style cover star, with a stop-in-your-tracks shoot from Luke Gilford. Dripping with jewellery or styled in boundary-pushing designs, this is essential reading material for both music buffs and fashionistas.

The artist talks turning failure into success, self-help books, his Christian upbringing, and up-and-coming queer Black designers in frank conversation with Jamal Jordan. Jordan writes of his admiration: “Here’s a young gay black man, doing whatever the fuck he wants, and losing absolutely nothing for it. It was something I, like so many other LGBT Black people, have always wanted to see.”


The best looks served at the 2021 Brit Awards

It would be an oversight to not mention the Brits, one of this week’s most eagerly awaited events. Dazed has compiled a nifty recap of the award ceremony’s best looks – getting mentions are Dua Lipa’s Ginger Spice tribute, Oliver Rodrigo’s dazzling Dior number, and Rina Sawayama’s Balmain lilac ruffles.

Topping it all off, Harry Stiles stole the show in a retro 70s Gucci orange-brown patchwork suit.


Flying Lotus: ‘I’ve been an anime fan forever, but I never thought I’d be part of this world’

Last but certainly not least, Kevin E G Perry chatted to Flying Lotus, a.k.a Steven Ellison, in The Independent this week about how the landmark music producer turned writer for Netflix’s Black samurai anime, “Yasuke”. “I think something like this is so important,” Ellison tells Perry. “Thinking about representation, and thinking about all these different stories that can be told. I think for so long anime has felt like an exclusive space for just, you know, the Japanese. Now there’s new ideas coming in and it’s so cool.”

Ellison is also the mastermind behind the series’ score. “I must have heard “Blade Runner Blues” more than any other track,” says Ellison. “That was a huge inspiration.”

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