Yesterday, on International Transgender Day of Visibility, TomboyX, the gender-inclusive, size-inclusive underwear brand, launched its Trans Pride collection starring The Politician’s Theo Germaine. With a focus on safety, this collection was inspired by times that the brand’s CEO Fran Dunaway was confronted with issues that trans people face within the current underwear market.
It’s no wonder that Dunaway got right to work. After all, that’s how TomboyX got its start in the first place. “When we first started the company, we didn't know a knit from a woven,” Dunaway tells us. “I wanted a nice button up shirt, kind of like a Ben Sherman, but was having a really hard time finding anything to my liking.” After venting out her frustrations to her wife Naomi, the couple thought, Why not just make it ourselves? Which is exactly what they did. The question still remains, though: How did a brand built on button-downs become all about underwear? Unsurprisingly, the idea came straight from customers.
“Naomi was doing customer service at the time and was getting a lot of requests for boxer briefs made for women. Surely, someone was already doing that, right? Wrong.” After scouring the market and realizing that no one other than Spanx — a brand with a very different mission in mind — was designing briefs for women, the duo set out to make the most comfortable pair possible. “We knew the world we lived in, people come in all shapes and sizes, and we wanted our underwear to reflect that,” she explains. To do so, they launched a wide array of sizes, from XS to 4X, in September of 2014. They sold out in two weeks.
“Turns out, we had found our hero product, and we were determined to undo everything we thought we knew about the apparel industry, and turn it on its head, one boxer brief at a time.”
In the last five years, the mission at TomboyX has never changed. “When we started, we wanted to be a company that ‘coloured outside of the lines,’ so to speak,” says Dunaway. “We wanted to put a spotlight on those who had been ignored and marginalized in the industry.” Which is where the brand’s latest collection comes in. The collection was inspired by an experience Dunaway had at last year’s Seattle Pride, where she met a young trans man who showed her his binding process — which involved duct tape. She recalls that he told her how difficult binding was for him; that it wasn’t comfortable, was extremely noticeable, and worst of all, it was painful.
Like that first button-down, when Dunaway noticed a void in the market for undergarments that were safe — particularly when it came to binding, tucking, and packing — and that were stylish, she simply decided to make them herself. The result? A tried-and-true compression top, fit-tested on real people, which is included in the Trans Pride collection. TomboyX’s compression top combines 59% Polyamide Nylon with 41% Elastane to ensure maximum breathability and comfort, while still providing compression.
The collection also includes pieces inspired by an experience Dunaway had in the lingerie section of a department store when, after having had a bi-lateral mastectomy, she noticed a lack of comfortable and non-lace prosthetic-friendly bras. She solved that problem too. The Holdster, a reversible bra designed specifically for comfort post-surgery, was her answer.
Shop the entire collection, shown here on Theo Germaine who Dunaway calls “just plain cool,” on tomboyx.com today.