These Trans Swimsuits Are Simple, But Are A Big Deal

Photo: Courtesy of FLAVNT.
Streetwear brand FLAVNT is trying to make the beach a more comfortable place for transmasculine individuals — at least in terms of swimwear. Created by identical twins Courtney and Chris Rhodes, who identify as lesbian and trans, respectively, Austin-based FLAVNT is planning to roll out the Bareskin Top next year. The skin-toned, sports-bra-esque top, similar to a binder, is meant to feel like being shirtless, while still letting the wearer soak in some sun.

"Lot of transguys or masculine people — tomboys and non-binary people also — aren’t comfortable with wearing a bikini top or whatever else," Courtney told Refinery29. "So they get stuck wearing shirts in the summertime, or settling for something that doesn’t make them feel confident."

The impetus for the Bareskin Top was Chris "being unhappy with his options for swimwear," Courtney explains; she came up with the concept for flesh-hued, binder-like tops as a solution for her twin's conundrum. "We couldn't really figure out why binders on the market don't already come in that [skin-tone] option," she says.

The Rhodes siblings are currently fundraising for the Bareskin Top, which comes in four skin-tone options, on Kickstarter; they've raised over $10,000 of their $25,000 goal thus far. "The top's price is projected to be between $50 and $65," Courtney says — comparable to the pricing of other binders on the market. "We don't want to outsource our production," she adds. "They're going to be high-quality, and we're going to have to source and dye the fabrics to get accurate skin tones."
Photo: Courtesy of FLAVNT.
If the Bareskin Top is a success, FLAVNT plans to expand its swimwear foray into bottoms: trunks with a built-in packing pouch, specifically. There are also plans down the line to make a full-length version of the Bareskin Top for customers who want a more covered-up — but still skin-toned and binder-enabled — poolside aesthetic.

"As a transguy and a lesbian, we make clothes that we both are comfortable in, and we hope that other people will be, too," Courtney says. "That’s what we are all about — spreading confidence."

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