Breaking Down Barriers for Inclusive Fashion
Designers Leo Roux are creating affordable trans-focused fashion
By Shaun Lee,
4:25PM, Tue. Jun. 7, 2016
Clothing is an integral part of self-expression for all people, but finding clothing that agrees with one’s body is hard for many people. This difficult task is often amplified for those who don’t fall into the long-established fashion industry norms. Newcomer, Leo Roux is trying to change that reality for trans-binary and nonbinary individuals.
Co-founded and managed by two transmasculine individuals with roots in Austin’s queer community, Leo Roux and Sean Seyer, Leo Roux's fashion lines are designed with transfeminine, transmasculine, and genderqueer individuals in mind. In fact, members of the trans communities have been included every step of the way: from the designers to the models.
The designs address recurring problem areas for finding clothing that fits, including height, chest and arm size, and shoulder and hip widths. What’s more, the line will feature everything from dresses and button-downs to jeans, T-shirts, and shorts.
As a person falling under the trans umbrella himself, Seyer grew up trying to cope with the gendered shortcomings of the fashion industry. He started out wearing oversized shirts as a way to appear more masculine. Eventually, he learned to alter his own clothing and decided to take action for others out there searching for support. “Being a therapist and working with people who are transitioning, I was constantly hearing feedback that [people] couldn’t find clothing that fit them,” explains Seyer. “Gender dysphoria really increases when you’re shopping or getting dressed.”
Of the few companies that are creating clothing for nonbinary individuals, most have good intentions, but the price points tend to be unaffordable for many people. “There are very few options for people who identify as trans-binary or nonbinary, and that goes double for affordable, casual clothing,” states the Leo Roux website. “We are working hard to change that. We are turning the clothing industry inside out and creating a line of affordable, everyday clothing options for people of alternative genders.”
Their end goal is to be able to adapt their clothing lines to a wide range of body types and measurements. “We put out a model call, and we got over 40 applicants in Seattle. We interviewed a number of them, selected several, and started making clothes around their particular bodies. We’re already interested in more models, and our model application is constantly active on our website,” says Seyer.
“We want to be able to provide everyday clothing to our communities at an affordable price,” explains Seyer. As of now, Leo Roux has already made several garments and has shot its Kickstarter video. The lines are set to hit production in October 2016 with the Kickstarter campaign scheduled to launch on Aug. 1. Roux and Seyer are working hard to make their date goals as successful as possible. “The Kickstarter will allow us to turn our prototypes into clothing available to people.” All of the next steps are intertwined as far as the success of the initial start-up.
But aside from fundraising, Leo Roux's eyes are set on another key milestone: New York Fashion Week. The designers are currently up for entry into dapperQ’s runway show during this fall’s NYFW at the Brooklyn Museum. Eight designers will be selected and voting is crucial as dapperQ – the fashion, lifestyle, and empowerment website for the "unconventionally masculine" – states that it “will make up 30 percent of each designer’s total score.” Voting closes on Sunday, June 12.
“Going to NYFW would help us to significantly expand our reach to communities who want what we can offer," Sean Seyer explains. "This contest helps spread the word of our company as well as other designers that offer our communities solid clothing options.”