fridae.asia extends a warm welcome to ad hoc columnist, fashion blogger and jewellery entrepreneur Anne Gravesen-Hepworth, aka The Rabbit Died a name and space for the fashion industry to watch!"
While the fashion industry is brainwashing gunk like "jeggings" into the masses; or Vogue is trying to make the oh-so novel concept of 'denim-on-denim' trendy, perhaps designers should focus on the rapidly expanding market of LGBT+ buyers searching for the right fit. That is definitely not an easy needle to find in the generic haystack.
Kylie Jack, a transgender woman in transition, said in 2013 during an interview that "all she wanted was a properly fitting bra but the store called Petticoat Fair in Texas simply wasn't ready for her. When she asked for access to the fitting rooms, Kylie was turned away after being asked for ID and questioned if she was an 'anatomical female'". How very Pretty Woman. Sadly, I'm sure this isn't an isolated case.
Susan Herr, the founder of 'dapperQ', started a site for masculine dressing LGBTQ+ people; and Mary Going, a masculine-presenting lesbian started 'Saint Harridan' a ready-to-wear suit label for all sizes and shapes. These entrepreneurs are now artfully working to challenge and fill this black hole in the fashion industry. Often, these business ideas are born from a personal struggle and a need.
All Mary Going wanted was a stylish, fitting suit but at 5 foot 3 inches and 120 pounds, there weren't many options on the high street. Eventually, she turned to a tailor-made suit and the overall finished product costed $1,800. God forbid a woman wants to walk into a high street shop and buy a suit!
In an interview Mary said "I've had cars that cost less than that. I loved that suit. I felt great in that suit in a way that I had never felt great in my clothes before. I felt taller. I felt like I got more respect and I don't know if that's because I presented more respectfully or because people really did see me differently."
Now, Mary is spreading pop-up stores for 'Saint Harridan' across the U.S. She says customers sometimes get emotional because it's so rare to find an enjoyable shopping environment.
"We've had grown people stand in our store and cry because they have never experienced customer service like this," Going said. "We're telling them that they are valued and respected just the way they are."
Sadly, it may be some time before these needs are widely met; the fashion industry still considers a size 12 model a 'shocking feat' and anybody with a sizeable butt is seen as 'curvy' so this gaping wound in the LGBT+ fashion industry may take some time to sow up. For the time being, it seems, the vast population wanting these products will have to rely on the internet to be their saviour as retail stores continue to ignore the multitude of "niche" markets available, and adopt to the "one-size-fits-all" approach which is far too archaic to work...for anyone.
Hey fashion world, there is literally money on the table. Don't be the last people to underestimate an underserved market.