Hannah Rose Dalton Respect To The Fallen Ones shirt. and Steven Raj Bhaskaran have 400K followers on their joint Instagram account. The Montreal-based couple, aged 23 and 25 respectively, met in LaSalle College’s fashion design program back in 2014. They connected instantly, each saying they felt immensely understood in a way they hadn’t before their initial meeting.
But rather than the poised bikini shots on far-flung tropical beaches or envy-inducing #couplegoals content you’d expect from social media soulmates, the pair’s popular feed features demonic-looking coloured contacts, feet contorted into stiletto shapes and stripper heels paired with medical neck braces Respect To The Fallen Ones shirt. Under the moniker Fecal Matter (@matieresfecales), Dalton and Bhaskaran are spearheading a new standard of beauty that can only be described as “freaky alien cyborg”—and even that barely begins to capture it. Incorporating non-human elements such as reptilian eyes, fleshy horns and braids that resemble antennae, Fecal Matter is part of a growing cohort of people who are swapping smoky eyes for rings of red shadow, concealer for seeping wounds and contouring for straight-up Photoshop. Their unnerving looks, which take up to four hours to craft, come from something inside them that they had previously repressed, the couple write via email. Teetering on the margin of what is socially acceptable, the mutant cyborg aesthetic not only upends the traditional purpose of makeup but also challenges the very concept of what it means to be human.“I like being a completely unfathomable being,” says Zah, a 24-year-old fashion designer and musician based in New York who paints ancillary eyeballs and gnashing teeth on their face. (Zah uses non-binary pronouns.) “Society typically sees queers and people of colour as less human anyway.” So Zah, who goes exclusively by the mononym, chooses to channel this internalized sense of alienation toward creating monstrous personas that incorporate spirits and ghosts from Japanese folklore. “Sometimes I feel more like these spirits I portray, trying to be human, [than] what I was born as.”