Clothing designed to help transgenders transform

Clothing

One little stitch up the side of a pocket can make a world of difference.

A few inches trimmed from the shoulders of a shirt can transform a shape — and, more important, make the wearer feel like his or her true self.

One’s true gender.

Leo Roux designed his new eponymous line of clothing for transgender people out of necessity.

Roux, 31, transitioned from female to male in 2012 and struggled to find clothes that didn’t hug his curves or highlight his narrow shoulders.

It was a daily frustration, because clothes are such a huge part of the transgender story.

“One of the ways you first start experimenting with gender are different pronouns, maybe a different name,” Roux said. “Clothing is right up there with that.

“It’s how we show up in the world. How we present ourselves is through clothing.”

But finding the right fit poses a significant challenge.

Trans men — those born female but identifying as male — tend to be smaller than cisgender males (those who identify with the gender they were at birth). They also have wider hips and more narrow shoulders.

Trans women — those born male who identify as female — tend to be taller than cisgender women. They also have narrower hips and are more muscular and angular.

“We tend to make do with clothing,” Roux said. “We hunt for it and make do with what we find.”

For him and most transgender males, that means rolling up jeans or shopping in the boys department. (“They’re adolescent styles, but at least they fit.”)

A trans woman will wear a cardigan to camouflage broader shoulders; or a dress with an empire waistline that, as Roux put it, “Takes the hips out of the equation.”

“People never find their personal style because of all this,” Roux said. “And you think, ‘If a clothing company could just incorporate things from the ground up, that would go a long way to finding a solution to all these problems.’”

Which is why he started his own.

Roux, a massage therapist, had never designed clothing.

So he began with the basics: jeans and shirts, and one dress design — nothing flashy or fancy.

Roux’s pattern maker has worked for Levi’s, Betsey Johnson and Cirque du Soleil; and he received feedback from therapists who work with transgender people before cutting any fabric.

Roux put his clothes online late last month (www.leoroux.com) and will fill orders once he has enough to make it worthwhile. He needs enough preorders to be able to purchase wholesale fabric and meet the factory minimums for each garment. (The clothes will be made in the United States, he added.)

The prices range from $34 for a T-shirt to $61 for a dress, $78 for jeans and $80 for a button-down shirt.

No one will be charged unless he has met a minimum order by Nov. 23.

“I hope everyone likes it as much as we do,” Roux said. “I want to offer people clothing that makes you feel like you can be a part of society.”

[Source:-The Columbus Despacth]