BY AJ TRAGER
TROY – BC Cabangbang came out at 25 but knew at the age of 9 that there was something a little different about himself. Faith and family are key aspects of his life along with fashion and building community. After moving to the United States from the Philippines many years ago, Cabangbang was visiting his brother in Detroit and by complete coincidence landed a job at Hudson’s as head of visual presentation. Now, years later and finally married to his partner of 25 years, Cabangbang works as a salesperson at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Somerset Collection. While his main position is in the men’s department, Cabangbang considers himself a stylist. BTL sat down with Cabangbang to discuss some fun holiday fashion suggestions for the queer individual that wants to look fashionably trendy.
You used to own a business in Royal Oak called “Chozen By BC.” Can you tell us about that experience?
It was interesting having my own store. I did work 24 hours a day and had to pick the trends, know the clientele and know how to stretch their imagination. I had to be on the trends, I had to balance moving forward and backward. The east coast and the west coast set the trends and us in the Midwest get it two years later. Gays tend to be the people that experiment on trends. A lot of trends start in the gay community. We are rebellious by nature. We like to be different and we make the statement and that’s the reason some trends start in the gay community.
Tell us about Saks Fifth Avenue.
Our clients are the cream of the crop of Michigan. But I have clients that come all the way from Ohio, Lansing, Flint and Grand Blanc. It’s a destination. When they come, they don’t just show up at Saks to browse. It’s the kind of store that is an aspirational store. When you reach a certain refinement in your life, you don’t want to get a lot of stuff. You want to have some stuff that is special to you that you will love and will be special to you. We have Tom Ford, Versace, we have Alexander McQueen, we have Prada and we have every shoe that Carrie Bradshaw talked about in “Sex in the City.”
What are some hot holiday trends?
We have wonderful tuxedo coats and blazers and dress up for the holidays. You are going to attend plays, attend the Fox or the opera – so a nice formal blazer would be great. Wool velvet is in and wine, burgundy and maroon are the festive colors for men and women. We have trend colors and silhouettes. It’s the ’50s silhouette. I know the fashion (from) then: it was tight jeans, tight pants. The younger you are, the trendier it is, the more you expose your socks. Happy socks are very in. For Christmas giving, if you know lawyers or doctors, a perfect addition to the stocking is fun, colorful socks. Men are learning to coordinate their tie with their socks.
What else should we wear this season?
Another thing that is also in is the merino wool sweater. New thing about them is the ones with a zipper. They used to be used for just skiing. But we have the aspirational lifestyle. People want to look like they are skiing when they are not. It’s designed for skiing, but they put it in layers, dress shirt underneath, and then they sit it down so they can expose their shirt and tie. Cashmere is always in. Leather hats with the fur underneath are in, too. That is trendy. I can’t pull it off. But young people can pull it off. If you’re stylish enough, girls and lesbians can pull it off because they can still be feminine and rugged at the same time, especially if they have some lipstick.
There are trends, but not every trend is applicable to you. You can always alter a trend so it works for you.