I have the best seat in the house at Queer Fashion Week, perched at the end of the runway in front of the photographers, and I’m hoping my big goofy smile isn’t showing up in the background of the photos. I’m having a moment with this collection, and I can’t contain myself. So many different bodies, genders, heights, sizes, shapes.
After the show, I catch up with the brand’s founders, Vicky and Charisse, as a fan and ethical stylist, I’m gearing up to gently ask the question that many designers don’t want to hear:
Do you know where your clothing is made?
I’m always careful to ask in a way that doesn’t sound like an attack, but the truth is, many designers who outsource their clothing production (and that’s most of them) don’t know the answer. Fashion is an expensive business, and many can’t afford to go overseas to visit their factories once, let alone regularly. Most just hope for the best.
I don’t have to hold my breath long after putting the question to Dapper Boi’s designers. The San Diego couple proudly tells me about the LA factories that produce their jeans. They’ve visited often. They know who’s making their jeans. It’s important to them that they work with ethical manufacturers. They know they’re working reasonable hours and making above minimum wage. Whew! I’m relieved.
GENDER-NEUTRAL, SIZE POSITIVE, & FIGURE-FLATTERING.
So from there, I want to know everything. What sizes do they carry? Sizes 26 – 48. What body types do they serve? Every body. It’s at this point that I learn that the couple, with two very different body types and style aesthetics, are wearing the same pair of jeans.
The pain of shopping for men’s style clothing for a female body inspired Vicky and Charisse to start their own business. Most stores still divide departments and dressing rooms by gender, making it an uncomfortable experience for anyone who dares to cross the floor into the other side. Shopping for something like jeans is hard enough, let alone for someone that’s trans. Brands like Dapper Boi change the game.
So what planet is this, where jeans can actually fit all body types, anyway? Stretch definitely plays a role, but so does styling. A roll of a cuff, a tucked in shirt, the right belt, and you have a whole lookbook of options with one pair of ethically made, Dapper Boi jeans.
As Vicky and Charisse – a couple who couldn’t even legally marry in California until 2015 – share a kiss for the cameras at the end of their runway show, I can’t help but think that this is the right place and the right time for the ethical, inclusive fashion revolution to happen. For Dapper Boi, human rights are in their jeans.
All photos courtesy of Dapper Boi.