Every Pride Month, my inbox fills up with a range of brands showcasing special collections and collaborations in support of LGBTQ+ people. While it's undoubtedly positive to see some of the biggest brands in the business celebrate and advocate for the community with rainbow-emblazoned merch, it's also of paramount importance to shine a spotlight on those innovating brands and rising queer designers that treat every month like Pride Month with their unapologetically authentic ethos.
This crop of inspiring gender-fluid brands and queer-identifying designers are at the pulse of pushing the (sometimes archaic-feeling) fashion business forward. That's right. These labels aren't afraid to push genderless silhouettes as we continue to gain a deeper understanding of gender identity and sexuality. They're also at the forefront of embracing representation on the runway and in campaigns, and use design as a way of expression to create change and spark conversation. In other words, they're the ones consistently on my radar.
Ahead, I'm bringing you my favorite labels that I believe reflect what fashion should look like today—inclusive, expressive, and personal—which, in essence, is the spirit and beauty behind my Pride Month.
Maria Borromeo recently launched ClHu, which stands for "Clothing for Humans." Inspired by her daughter who identified as gender-neutral at an early age, ClHu is an all-gender apparel brand and resale platform, featuring a range of items with Carlo Alcantara as the head of design.
I consistently wear this gender-neutral label (from co-founders Travis Weaver and Simon Black) for the high-quality, thoughtful designs. As the name implies, One DNA doesn't use labels like womenswear and menswear. The pieces in the offering are for everyone. FYI, I'm particularly into the strong shirting silhouettes.
If you were to ask a fashion person to name the brands that push all boundaries as a champion for diversity, Chromat would undoubtedly be at the top of that list. Inclusivity in all forms has always been at the center of designer Becca McCharen-Tran's line. You see this everywhere from the size-inclusive pieces to the actual people featured in the campaigns.
Together in life, Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez launched TomboyX to fill a gap in the market for those looking for underwear that works no matter where you fall on the size or gender spectrum. The result? An inspiring and celebrated line of all things basics for literally everyone.
When it comes to originality, Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng reign supreme with their line of dresses and other separates emblazoned with kitschy patterns. With representation at the forefront of their collections, this buzzing duo will continue to have a lasting influence on the industry.
Known for flipping fashion shows on their heads with its popular runway-turned-concert shows, and, of course, the It bag, Telfar Clemens—a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner—marches to the beat of his own drum with collections that spark conversation around race, gender, and class.
Designed to "invoke thought and emotion," this gender-free L.A.-based label by Stoney Michelli and Uzo Ejikeme celebrates the "nonconforming and bold at heart" with a line of cool streetwear favorites and everyday pieces. Yes, I'm talking graphic hoodies, joggers, blouses, and hats you'll want to live in.