“Something as simple as clothing that’s designed for our bodies can make a really big impact on wellbeing”
BY NIC CROSARA
People are flocking to the beach, having BBQs outside and generally having a lot of fun. Whilst dressing for the warmer months can be stressful for a variety of reasons, it’s hard to feel at home in skimpier clothing when you are trans or non-binary and experience dysphoria. Thankfully, #HotTransSummer is officially here, thanks to Both& Apparel. Their new swimwear products means that people can experience the true euphoria of going for a swim.
Since it was first founded by CEO Finnegan Shepard in 2020, Both& has been changing the came for gendered clothing. It provides trans masc and non-binary people with clothing made with their needs and desires in mind. Back in June 2020, Finnegan had the idea for Both& and initially this idea came about through swimwear. “That summer, I was healing from top surgery. Was locked down and living in my parents house,” he tells me. He began fantasising about being able to go swimming topless in the near future. All he needed to do was find the perfect pair of swim trunks, which was far easier said than done. Both& started creating T-shirts first, despite this initial inspiration. However they’d been searching for perfect fabric and design and Finnegan shares that he’s really happy with the final result.
The swim trunks have had changes to the base proportions, allowing wider hip room and to not be as long in the leg to create a more boxy shape. The waistband is much more forgiving than the usual tight elastic. There’s a little pouch on the inside of the shorts where there’s an optional foam packet. The trunks are made with trans masc and non-binary people of all different experiences in mind. For those not wanting to go topless, there’s a tank top that goes with the shorts and is great for people wanting more coverage or to bind underneath.
One of the shorts is named after Elliot Page, inspired by his top surgery reveal photo. “I just love that great moment of reveal was this picture of a person just living their best life, swimming and excited about being in their first swim trunks,” Finnegan reflects.
In a recent personal essay, Elliot described euphoria as the feeling of wearing a white T-shirt that fits him. How does it feel that Both& allows people to feel this exact way? “When I read that line, I was like ‘that’s literally what I see in reviews and emails all the time,’” Finnegan shares. “Building a startup is an insanely difficult thing to do. I just go back to those reviews and think, ‘okay, keep going. You’re doing something important.’”
Before our call comes to an end, Finnegan reasserts that: “Most people know what it’s like to buy something and not have it fit or sit on your body in a way that you want it to. That’s a pretty universal experience. But magnify that by 1000, that’s what it’s like to be trans. There’s this very deep impact it has on your sense of identity. And I think raising awareness that, this is not a small thing. Something as simple as clothing that’s designed for our bodies can make a really big impact on wellbeing.”
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