When it comes to underwear, comfort trumps everything. No one understands this better than Peregrine Honig, the artist behind All Is Fair In Love And Wear, a line of "middlewear" designed specifically for transgender people who are transitioning. Yes, neon lace, sexy straps, or a nod from David Beckham doesn't hurt when it comes to underthings, but truth be told, if it doesn't feel good to wear all day (or night) long, it's just going to get pushed farther and farther back into your underwear drawer.
Honig started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the line back in August, and exceeded her goal, raising $25,550 to start production, which will begin in December. The line will center on binders and modification garments, which, Honig points out in the campaign, need to be "comfortable, effective and as attractive as the people who wear them." This is something we can all relate to; transitioning or not, the last thing anyone wants to think about are health and safety risks from your underwear, but for people who are transitioning, certain risks are very real. Issues from rashes to actually passing out are among some of the side-effects of ill-fitting undergarments reported in an article in The Guardian in September.
Design-wise, the pieces are beautifully stark but visibly well-constructed; it's clear that each seam and panel is deliberate and functional, but they're also fashion-forward.
The collection will include undergarments for male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) clients such as binders, enhancers, and contour garments. The first piece will be "Boy Friday," a beautifully-made binding camisole that actually looks like it could have been in Kanye West's Adidas presentation at NYFW.
"All Is Fair was born in a lingerie shop," the video, made for the line's Kickstarter campaign, explains. "We evolved out of necessity. People all over the world cross the gender divide, and they deserve to reframe and reform without limitation."
Even though the line was technically inspired by lingerie, Honig refers to the collection as "middlewear," preferring the more gender-neutral term over the word "lingerie," which has a decidedly feminine connotation, or "underwear," a word which doesn't seem to do justice to the profoundness of the process of transitioning or "reframing," as the video puts it. In an article in I-D , Honig describes the word middlewear as occupying "the space between what is private and what is public."
Honig is a multimedia artist who has work in the Whitney museum, and although she is cisgender, the cause is very personal, and close to her heart. She runs Birdies, a lingerie boutique in Kansas City, Missouri, which is where All Is Fair will be sold (as well as online). According to Fast Company, it was here that she had a chance to really see her transgender clients, including a FTM friend, struggle with finding the right undergarments that were well-made, functional and attractive.
All Is Fair promises to be all of the above. That said, Konig is very careful about being sensitive to the needs of her transitioning clients, without pushing an overly-feminine or overly-masculine agenda onto them. "It's very much about language and how to start a dialog," she says in the I-D piece.
And it seems like Konig has plans to do just that - and then some. She's ultimately hoping for a buy one-give one model like Toms and Warby Parker already have in place, and she also expressed a desire to make a dedicated All Is Fair space that will function as not only a shop but a community space, as well.
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