TomboyX on making apparel for all and becoming a queer icon in its own right
Look in your drawers or closet right now. Chances are you have a piece of TomboyX apparel in it. Started a decade ago by Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez, the underwear and casual wear company with a queer aesthetic has made its mark in queer culture. In early 2020, pre-Covid, I had the pleasure of being a featured TomboyX model, and have always been impressed with their products, but more so, their ethos. I reached out to the fine folks at TomboyX to learn even more about one of my favorite queer brands and they were kind enough to give me the scoop.
Queer Media Matters: 2020 changed so much for so many and we continue to feel those changes. I for one wore a LOT of TomboyX in 2020! How did you as a company find a way to navigate the challenges of Covid?
TomboyX: There have obviously been quite a few changes for us! We had to shut down the office, but luckily our team is incredible at collaborating remotely. A huge change was how we could produce photography in a studio safely. For the first stretch, we couldn't. As restrictions eased we were able to shoot one model at a time with strict precautions, but it changed up our entire process.
QMM: TomboyX has shown up pretty much everywhere. It's on The L Word: Generation Q, being sported by LGBTQ celebs and allies. Can you talk a little about how TomboyX really rose in notoriety in less than a decade?
TomboyX: It's amazing, really. It wasn't expected when we started, but it's a beautiful thing to see. What's so wonderful about it is TomboyX began to make people feel comfortable and seen and to serve folks that were being left out of the industry. We had no idea how many people would resonate with that, and we're so grateful.
QMM: A real gamechanger for me is your inclusive sizing. I sported two TomboyX swimsuits on Olivia Travel trips when I worked there, and I got endless compliments. It was also the first time I wore swimwear proudly in years. It's a common sentiment I hear from people when we talk about your company. What does it mean to hear that?
TomboyX: That's why we do this - to hear things just like that. For anyone to be comfortable in themselves and their skin is the ultimate gift, and to be any part of that is a privilege.
QMM: TomboyX really is for everyone, something that is shown not only in your sizing but your marketing. You have all kinds of fabulous models from within the community. I feel like I'm always recognizing someone! How do you make sure you keep your representation diverse?
TomboyX: Honestly, we want our models to look like our community and our world, which is diverse! So rather than trying to hit a number, we just try to reflect who we actually are.
QMM: What's the process like when it comes to designing and getting a new style or item to market?
TomboyX: We absolutely look at what's in style, what's trending, and what's on the horizon. But more than that, we really look at what's resonating with the folks who are fans of TomboyX, and figure out how to make our new pieces more delightful. We fit test obsessively, on every body type at every size, to make sure everything fits perfectly. And we have been moving into new and exciting fabrics that not only increase comfort but decrease environmental impact. It's always changing, but our focus on the fit and the style stays just as laser-focused.
QMM: What have been some of your favorite pieces over the years?
TomboyX: Oh, don't make us choose! But our adaptable bra, inspired by our co-founder Fran's experience with mastectomy recovery, is way up there.
QMM: I know you probably get asked this a lot, but do you have any plans to introduce binders as part of your underwear line?
TomboyX: We do have our compression top, which is a safe binding option and one of our forever top sellers! We always want to make gender-affirming garments, and will continue to do so!
QMM: Your leak-proof period panties are amazing. There are a few different companies that make these types of underwear, but most are very femme in presentation and also pretty size restrictive. What was the response to the line when introduced and what made you decide to create them?
TomboyX: The response has been mostly great! We made them because a lot of people bleed, and just like when they're not bleeding they want undies that are comfortable and affirming. So why have to switch a week a month? We also know incontinence is an issue for a lot of people, and more styles are always a good thing.
QMM: We're all about supporting LGBTQ-owned businesses. Do you have any you'd like to give a little love to?