FLAVNT, a small clothing company run by graphic designers Chris and Courtney Rhodes, is dedicated to promoting self confidence in the LGBTQ community. Their designs represent a variety of queer identities, demonstrating their dedication to inclusivity. In an effort to give back to the community, FLAVNT partners with one person at a time and dedicates 15% of profits from designated sales to their partner’s gender-confirming surgery.
“In 2015, we have donated $4000 to three guys, two of whom have received top surgery this year and the last of which, Tyler, will be getting his bottom surgery in December!” Chris and Courtney said. You can read more about FLAVNT’s origin and mission here.
FLAVNT’s latest mission is to release the Bareskin Swim Top, a swimming binder for nonbinary and transmasculine individuals.
“There are so few options out there in terms of LGBTQ specific clothing, let alone clothing that’s made for the trans community,” says Chris and Courtney. “And there are only a handful of inadequate swimming options for transmen and non-binary people. We’re hoping to change that. “
For those who may not know, a binder is an undergarment often worn by transmasculine or non-binary individuals to compress their chests. Binders are unsafe to wear past a certain number of hours and, due to their tightness and the way they are cut, would not be a comfortable garment to wear when running around at the beach.
“Essentially [the Bareskin Swim Top is] a chest binder but with a little bit of a different silhouette – kind of a combination between a typical chest binder and a compression sports bra, which allows for a larger range of motion, a little bit more comfort, and for more surface area of your skin to be visible so you can tan,” Courtney says.
Aside from its innovative cut for added comfort, the Bareskin Swim Top differs from traditional binders or sports bras because it is available in a variety of skin tones. As we know, ‘nude’ or ‘flesh’ is not the same color for everyone. FLAVNT wants their new swim top to benefit trans and non-binary folks of all skin tones.
“It’s less triggering for the wearer to see out of their peripheral vision something that matches closely to their skin tone. Also, from a distance, it kind of makes you passable,” says Chris, drawing from personal experience. “Not that it matters if you pass, or what people think, but it does make you more confident if it looks like something that’s part of your own skin.”
Chris and Courtney point out that the Bareskin Swim Top is not just for the beach or the pool.
“Not only is this innovative because you can wear the top to swim in and feel shirtless, but it also comes in multiple skin tones making it less noticeable for everyday wear, allowing you to feel more confident from the gym to the bedroom.”
With the goal of having the Bareskin Swim Top out by spring break 2016, FLAVNT needs help from the community and its allies to make mass production a reality. Check out FLAVNT’s kickstarter to see the campaign video, check out more photos of prototypes and learn more about how to get this product on the market.