A Moment With: Armand Digdoyo
Armand Digdoyo is a Toronto-based creative entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Yohomo and New Ho Queen, as well as being part of the VSP family as our in-house stylist. Armand is a large part of the queer nightlife scene in Toronto. He is devoted to creating inclusive spaces while also showcasing and nurturing queer culture. In a city that often favours business over community, Yohomo and New Ho Queen are essential to the city's cultural landscape.
VSP chats with Armand about his favourite Toronto creatives, new designers to watch, and what makes the perfect party.
What sets the creative scene in Toronto apart from any other city?
It’s highly encouraged to be a creative in this city and there’s a diverse audience to present it to. I’ve gone through a lot of different career phases while I’ve lived here—all mixing fashion and music. There’s always been a ton of support. Toronto will always be into what’s new on the cultural, design, and tech side of things. I mean, didn’t we break the Spice Girls and Lady Gaga? Ha.
Yohomo and New Ho Queen are both about creating queer cultural spaces both online and off, tell us about these projects and what the future holds for them.
The name Yohomo came out of direct response to the #nohomo hashtag to reclaim the term homo. Yohomo is a website and brand I co-founded out of a need to know what was happening in the city that was queer and centered around nightlife, as well as focused on arts and culture. As a DJ, friends were regularly asking me where to go and what to do so my co-founders Phil Villeneuve, Mathieu Bellemare and myself thought we’d list LGBTQ+ nightlife listings online. That led to creating content to feature all the amazing and diverse LGBTQ+ talent the city has to offer, and forming a brand with streetwear merch and parties to create the Yohomo vibe and experience.
New Ho Queen was formed out of a need to connect and create a space for other queer Asians. With parties in New York that are QTPOC focused such as Bubble T and Papi Juice we wanted to create a party that hopefully reflected the Toronto queer Asian experience—Hence the inspiration from Toronto’s post-nightlife eatery New Ho King on Spadina Avenue.
We just celebrated our first birthday and we’ve been lucky to partner up with The Royal Ontario Museum, Gardiner Museum and Pride Toronto, on top of producing our own parties around the city. New Ho Queen co-founder John Thai is the visionary behind the Instagram (where we try to feature queer Asian faces nonstop!!) so it couldn’t thrive without him. Our goal with New Ho Queen is to take up space and create a platform to celebrate the queer Asian community.
As long as there is a need for representation, Yohomo and New Ho Queen will always exist. As far as parties go, we are in a bit of a crisis when it comes to actual venues to party. Finding somewhere for over 400 people with the intention to create a safe space that is both queer-friendly, and has pricing accessibility for promoters and partygoers is becoming a challenge as time goes by—and as condos go up.
Who are some of your favourite movers and shakers doing amazing things in your community?
Love this question. My favourite thing to do is big up friends. Love doing it much more than chatting about my own work!
- Glad Day Bookshop (The World’s Oldest LGBTQ bookstore but also important nightlife spot in Church street village.
- Justin Bignall - a local clothing manufacturer that works in small runs for local designers and is working to keep pushing the Canadian fashion industry forward.
- Sammy Rawal - Founder of Yes Yes Y’all and mega talented video director and DJ
- May Truong - photographer check out her project The Maytriarchy
- Valeroo - DJ and party person—One of the most talented DJs in the city and my personal favourite.
Over the years, what are some design houses that you've followed and always admired?
20 years of watching Fashion File and reading style.com. For the moment:
- Comme Des Garçons - Rei is GOD
- Prada - on the show presentation/styling side and bringing luxury forward and future thinking.
- Nicholas Ghesquiere’s Balenciaga years - Space age perfection.
- I’m also really into SHOW MUSIC, so Michel Gaubert is everything
New brands I’m into:
- Palomo Spain
- Deveaux NYC
- Commisson NYC
What elements do you add to your look when preparing for a DJ set?
Statement shirts! I always like wearing a suit or tux when I DJ, it makes me feel powerful. Strongly considering wearing heels to make me taller behind the booth.
And finally, what makes the perfect party?
Good music and better sound (easier said than done!), very little lighting, the power of a great host, people being kind to each other, and a smoke machine.
Photos by May Truong
Shot at Victory Social Club
Text by Marlowe Granados