Worn With Pride

13 Queer-Owned Fashion Brands That Should Be On Your Radar

Show your pride all year round.

Originally Published: 
queer-owned clothing brands 2022
Kirrin Finch/Wild Fancy Design/Brandon Blackwood

Every Pride Month, my inbox fills with Pride themed products from every big-name brand. And while it's heartening to see so much support for the LGBTQ+ community, at the same time, I know some of those companies are taking space from lesser-known, queer-owned clothing brands.

For many LGBTQ+ 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 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 business owners who not only design for our community, but are a part of it, and whose creative allyship is not limited to the month of June. Here are some of the best.

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1. ARSN The Label

ARSN The Label was founded by lesbian couple Shay Ericksen and Kaila Rhubright. The jewelry brand launched in Brooklyn, NY giving unique styles that can be appreciated by everyone. To give back to their community, they will be donating 10% of proceeds to the It Gets Better Project and the Ali Forney Center for the month of June.

The brand has relatable names for each piece, such as “Does She Know You Still Call Me”, “Choke On All That Sh*t You Talked”, and “Your Rolex Doesn’t Impress Me.” Regardless of all that, their chic and sleek designs speak for themselves — loudly.

2. Chromat

Queer, woman-owned brand Chromat has been celebrating diversity on the runway for years — from plus-size models, to transgender models, models with disabilities, and more groups often ignored by the fashion world.

Founder Becca McCharen-Tran recently collaborated with artist Tourmaline for their Spring/Summer 2022 collection, creating a collection of swimwear “designed for girls who don't tuck, trans femmes, non-binary and trans masc people who pack, intersex people,” and literally anyone else who wears a swimsuit.

3. Phlemuns

Black-owned, Los Angeles based brand Phlemuns was founded in 2013 with the intention to bridge the gap between luxury and everyday fashion. The brand uses a slow fashion approach and has been worn by the likes of Solange, Lil Nas X, Wendy Williams, Chloe and Halle Bailey, and Keke Palmer.

Phlemuns was behind the costume Billie Eilish wore as Sally during her Nightmare Before Christmas tribute performance. In an interview with Refinery29 in 2020, founder James Flemons said that his label and presence in fashion as a Black, queer man carries the pressure of having to “break the mold of the stereotypes that have been placed upon [him] without [his] permission”.

4. Brandon Blackwood

Black, queer designer Brandon Blackwood made a huge impact in summer 2020 with his “end systemic racism” bags. Far from a one-hit wonder, Blackwood continues to put out sleek, high-end “it” bags, bringing luxury to the masses. The eponymous label has been worn by Doja Cat, Normani, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Olivia Rodrigo.

5. Kirrin Finch

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 and bow ties. Mixing traditionally masculine cuts with feminine patterns is part of Kirrin Finch's mission. They create for customers who are "no longer willing to settle for ill-fitting menswear or overly frilly womenswear,” their designs reject “traditional stereotypes and [give] people the freedom to be their true selves."

6. Chrysalis Lingerie

Owned by Cy Lauz, Chrysalis Lingerie offers products designed for the trans community. She told Fashionista, "I think every woman, trans or not, faces challenges when trying to find undergarments. But as trans women, we have very specific needs unique to our experience.”

To help solve this problem, Lauz created bras that “not only looks natural, but feels and moves like natural breasts, using full cup silicone inserts held in hidden pockets.” Chrysalis Lingerie also sells tucking thongs and more products that allow women to feel their most confident.

7. Wildfang

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."

Parsley and McIlroy launched Wildfang in 2013, and currently sell tons of curated styles across the board, from coveralls to full-on suits in both straight and plus sizes.

8. Peixoto

Latin-owned, queer-owned, Miami-based swimwear brand Peixoto (pronounced pay-show-toe) specializes in vibrant colors and unique styles that can be seen on beaches all across the world, from Miami to founder Mauricio Esquenazi’s home of Colombia. You can currently find this LGBTQ+ swimwear brand at Shopbop, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

9. Honey Birdette

Honey Birdette was launched in 2006, when founder Eloise Monaghan was frustrated with the lack of sex toy shops in Australia. The brand now has over 60 stores worldwide and has expanded from toys to other sensual things like lingerie. Honey Birdette creates their delicious designs with fabric derived from recycled materials and plastic from the Mediterranean Sea.

10. FLAVNT Streetwear

Founded by identical twins Chris and Courtney 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. FLAVNT also regularly runs fundraising campaigns to help members of the trans community raise money for gender affirmation surgeries.

11. Automic Gold

Not only is Automic Gold queer-owned, but also super transparent. You can see every employee on the About Us page, product photos are un-retouched, and their prices are reflective of the artistry and of being self-funded (ie: no investment money). Automic Gold has jewelry options for everyone — it’s size inclusive, gender inclusive, and makes options for people with and without piercings. The cherry on top? All designs use recycled gold and reclaimed stones.

12. Wild Fancy Design

Super cute jewelry with tongue-in-cheek references (see: The Scissors necklace above), Wild Fancy Design creates wonderfully whimsical accessories. This Etsy shop makes everything made-to-order to avoid creating excess waste. Peep the pronouns earrings and pins too!

As co-founders Lex Non Scripta and Voula O'Clock describe on the About page of Wild Fancy Design, “Self-expression through fashion has always been an important part of queer identity — whether it’s about flagging, taking up space with your fabulous self, or defying gender norms.”

13. Stuzo Clothing

Stuzo Clothing is queer-owned, Black-owned, woman-owned, Latin-owned, and are made in Los Angeles. The brand celebrates a gender-free ethos, and has been worn by celebs like Ruby Rose, Lena Waithe, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Spike Lee.

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