Peregrine Honig of Kansas City lays claim to being the youngest living artist to have her work in the Whitney’s permanent collection — the museum bought one of her pieces when she was just 22. In 2010, she appeared on (and almost won) Bravo’s Work Of Art reality show, and she started her own lingerie store over a decade ago. The prodigy's latest project: founding a gender-fluid undergarment line, All is Fair in Love and Wear. “Binders and modification garments should be comfortable, effective, and as attractive as the people who wear them,” she writes on the label’s Kickstarter page. Getting a glimpse of the subpar underpinnings available to the trans community was the impetus for Honig to start All Is Fair. “I had a friend who’s transitioning, and when I saw her — now his — binders, I was surprised by how odd they were. They weren’t built for his frame. I went online, looked at what’s available, and it just seemed so strangely limited.” Honig has owned a small, independent lingerie shop in Kansas City, called Birdies, for 13 years. And she found resources for her line via Miranda Treas, a designer she stocked there. Treas’ aunt, Laura Treas, had been in the post-plastic surgery and compression garment industry for three decades, so she had access to the right kind of materials and had worked on “cool, high-quality, comfortable, fashion-forward” pieces. The label will launch with four binders available in two colors, followed by tuckers, then cinchers and packers. Honig is All Is Fair's founder, and the aunt-and-niece Treas duo are the line's co-designers.
Owning a lingerie store was never part of Honig’s plans; she realized she “liked selling things” while curating Fahrenheit, a contemporary art residency and exhibition initiative, bringing work to New York, Miami, and Chicago. “If you can sell a $50,000 piece of artwork, maybe you can sell a $200 bra,” Honig says. Her love of lace and of “being around beautiful things” propelled the endeavor forward, but the boutique itself first took shape as an art project: “It began as an art installation with cotton underwear printed with birds that I opened on Valentine’s Day,” Honig recalls. She found enough success slinging underwear to keep it up — and to integrate her art and commerce. “I used to very much divide my business from my art practice, but I do think the two very much inform each other,” she said. Budding labels rarely have brick-and-mortar spaces early on, but there’s already a retail-and-more outpost of All Is Fair in the works. Honig has the lease on a “beautiful private space that feels like a high-end spa.” It won’t be a conventional store experience — it’ll be mostly by-appointment, because being fit for her particular type of garments is “a relatively private retail experience,” Honig explains. “It’s a really private community of people [who] want an incredible amount of sensitivity and respect toward what they’re going through.” The space will also be used for lectures by visiting artists and academics investigating gender identity, as well as pattern-making classes and Emily Post etiquette classes. Down the line, Honig hopes to hold pop-ups for transgender or non-binary designers in the All Is Fair digs, and also use it as a micro residency studio space. Kansas City might sound like an unexpected place for a boutique devoted to transgender undergarments. “For a lot of people from smaller towns, Kansas city is like the big city," Honig says. “I got to Kansas City from San Francisco; I was a bit of a geographical bigot in a sense, because I thought I was going to encounter fields of wheat. I planned to only go for school at Kansas City Art Institute and then turn around.” But once she found her place, Honig didn’t consider setting up shop anywhere else: “The space is amazing, and it told me what it’s supposed to be.”
Once the line takes off, Honig would love to be stocked in places like Barneys New York, but transgender customers are “a really hard market to strategize for” in terms of appropriate retail outlets.” I won’t know what to expect until things really get rolling.” If All Is Fair doesn’t hit its Kickstarter fundraising goal by Sunday, it’ll mean fewer color variations for the debut collection of binders, given the large quantities that compression materials must be ordered in. Things will still move ahead with the line if the goal isn’t met, albeit more gradually: “We have the drive, if we don't reach our goal it will just be more like moving on bike, rather than in a small truck,” Honig says. Groundbreaking as it is, All Is Fair isn’t the very first line of its kind — in 2013, a transgender lingerie line, Chrysalis Lingerie, came out with bras and tucking underwear (including a thong version) for people making a male-to-female transition — but All Is Fair addresses a wider customer base than that. Eventually, Honig wants to expand into loungewear. “As a cis female, I’m not telling my own story,” Honig says of launching All Is Fair. “It’s just amazing to get to know a group of people that have these incredible stories and interesting, beautiful relationships with their bodies, with who they are, and who they want to be.”