I'm Super Into These 12 Queer Female and Non-Binary Designers
I think it's very easy to conceive of the fashion industry as gay friendly; after all, it's filled with women and gay men. But therein lies the problem, really: that word gay. Gay cis men move through the world, especially the fashion world, with a lot of privilege—much more than any woman of color, much more than any gender-nonconforming individual or queer woman—to the point that they are often the gatekeepers and tastemakers for bodies that do not look like their own. It's vital that we recognize this point because it's too easy for a list of LGBTQ+ designers and brands to be dominated by gay men, who already hold such large platforms in this industry. If you can easily think of open lesbian, bisexual female, and gender-nonconforming designers, that warms my heart. But I'd venture to assume many of you cannot, especially since I'm a queer woman working in the fashion industry and it's hard for me to think of more than the handful here!
To honestly write this article, it would be hard not to offend some people. But it's also hard to ignore the fact that it's really sad there's a need for such an article. I wish more marginalized identities were running businesses because, more often than not, these are the businesses that have the most emotional impact: They are usually the most size-inclusive, body-positive, genderless, racially diverse, and eco-friendly—brands that take real stands for change and help those with marginalized identities feel represented and celebrated.
I love fashion. I love using clothes, accessories, and make-up to express myself. It's easy for me to find what I want to wear, even if sometimes I get frustrated that my upper half is much smaller than my lower half. The fact is I'm a femme bisexual woman; sometimes I drift into androgynous dressing, but there is privilege in freely moving in and out of that. I know exactly where I want to shop and where I can shop. I know those stores will always have options in my size. I want all people to have that experience. I want masc non-binary individuals to easily find a suit or jacket made for their body size. I want the trans community to be able to buy comfortable and high-quality clothes that not only fit but also express their identity. And that's why I picked the brands listed here. They all serve a purpose and clientele that isn't always served in the fashion industry. I do want to note that a couple of these brands are lead by masc-of-center individuals, but they're so committed to designing gender-fluid products, it felt right to feature them here. Keep reading to learn about these 12 brands I love and my favorite products you can shop from them now.