Every Pride Month, my inbox is filled with brands telling me about the Pride-themed products they're offering for June. And while it's heartening to see so much support, at the same time, I know some of those companies could be taking space from smaller, queer-owned clothing brands that should be on everyone's radar.
For many queer folks, the clothing we wear can be a vital part of our identity expression. And thankfully, there are tons of businesses popping up, many of them internet-based, that offer queer folks clothes made by us, for us, whether that's lingerie fitted for transgender bodies or clothes cut to fit butch cisgender women.
When it comes to Pride Month, I'm always curious to see which non-queer-owned brands are willing show up for us — and every year, that list gets longer. Sometimes, though, it can feel like brands' Pride campaigns are strictly performative, and are out to do, well, what all ad campaigns are meant to do: Make money. In the end, I'd prefer to celebrate Pride by putting my money directly into the hands of queer business owners who not only design for our community, but are part of it, and whose creative allyship is not limited to June.
With that in mind, here are seven queer-owned clothing brands that offer sweet swag made by and designed for queer folks.
1. FtM Detroit
Gender Blender Symbol Tee, $17, etsy.com/ftmdetroit
FtM Detroit is an Etsy shop opened to raise funds for the Detroit-based organization of the same name, a "community-based group made by and for transmasculine identified people in the greater Detroit area."
Every piece of clothing in the FtM Detroit shop is designed and locally printed by trans men, and all proceeds are looped back into the organization, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit.
The Etsy shop offers a fairly small number of items compared to the other brands on this list, mostly T-shirts and tank tops, but all its pieces have a unique style and message reflecting the transgender artists who created them.
2. Style Is Freedom
TOMBOI Rainbow Snapback Hat, $30, styleisfreedom.com
Founded in 2012 by Toni Branson, Style Is Freedom is a lifestyle brand billed as a movement to "liberate genderless style and show that clothing is universal to everyone." Sticking with its gender-free mission, the brand's signature logo is uniformly printed on everything from snapbacks to slides to onesies, and all pieces are sold without gender labels.
You can check out the brand's Instagram for its latest looks.
3. Queer Supply
Fuck Your Gender Binary T-Shirt, $25, queersupply.com
Queer Supply features handmade designs by queer Toronto-based artists, including its founder Kit, who describes themself as "a queer non-binary weirdo."
The brand "began with conversations about identity," according to its website, and "is about celebrating the intersectionality that strengthens us. [...] The work we create is designed to make space for marginalized people and our multifaceted identities. When we craft space to express ourselves, we create opportunities to connect with each other."
Queer Supply features two core designs ("Fuck Your Gender Binary" and "Magic Black Femme"), and its products include tank tops, T-shirts, and sweatshirts, as well as buttons, magnets, and even handmade leather journals.
4. FLAVNT Streetwear
Umber Bareskin, $50, flavnt.com
Founded by identical twins Chris (a trans man) and Courtney (a lesbian) Rhodes, FLAVNT is based out of Austin, and was "started with the goal of creating clothes that promote confidence, especially within the LGBTQ community."
The brand consistently features models who are members of the LGBTQ community, and along with producing a wide variety of queer-themed shirts, also makes the Bareskin Binder, a binder designed for swimming that is available in multiple nude shades.
And if that wasn't enough, FLAVNT also regularly runs fundraising campaigns to help members of the trans community raise money for gender affirmation surgeries.
5. Kirrin Finch
O'Keeffe — White Floral Patterned Short-Sleeve Shirt, $125, kirrinfinch.com
Kirrin Finch is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based couple Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders Moffat, who said on the brand's site that they were "inspired by iconic fictional tomboys 'Georgina Kirrin' from The Famous Five series and 'Scout Finch' from To Kill A Mockingbird."
The brand offers butch-style clothing, like button-up shirts (both long- and short-sleeved) and bow ties. Mixing traditionally masculine cuts with feminine patterns is part of Kirrin Finch's mission, which, according to the founding duo, is about being "no longer willing to settle for ill-fitting menswear or overly frilly womenswear. [W]e decided to join the movement that rejects traditional stereotypes and gives people the freedom to be their true selves."
6. Chrysalis Lingerie
Plum Enhancers, $75, chrysalislingerie.bigcartel.com
Owned by trans woman Cy Lauz, Chrysalis Lingerie, like FLAVNT, offers products designed for the trans community. The brand technically only produces two pieces, both of which are made exclusively for transgender women.
Lauz, who before founding Chrysalis working in fashion and interior design, told Fashionista, "I think every woman, trans or not, face challenges when trying to find undergarments. But as trans women, we have very specific needs unique to our experience. [...] Our bras create a natural looking bust line that not only looks natural but feels and moves like natural breasts, using full cup silicone inserts held in hidden pockets. Chrysalis also provides a panty we call our 'T-string' that effectively tucks, holds, and smooths out our bikini area for a seamless look. And because our products are available through our online store, our customers can shop safely and comfortably from their home."
Misfit Chenille Applique Crew, $88, wildfang.com
Wildfang founders Julia Parsley and Emma McIlroy are former Nike executives who say what they've created is not a brand — it's a "band of thieves; modern-day, female Robin Hoods raiding men's closets and maniacally dispensing blazers, cardigans, wingtips and bowlers as we roam from town to town in these stolen styles of ours."
These seven brands are the pinnacle of queer fashion excellence, and they make it easy to support the queer community and look dapper AF for this year's Pride — and next year's, and for all the Pride Months to come.