The Butch Clothing Company: Stylish Suits for Every Butch
Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian
If you haven’t already heard, the holy grail of butch fashion just opened up in England. Shaz Riley, a self-identified butch woman and newcomer to the fashion scene, recently started a company catering to the clothing needs of her butch sisters. The Butch Clothing Company
, based in Brighton, makes classic men’s suits, shirts, and trousers, but cuts them to fit a woman’s body – specifically, each client’s body.
I had the chance to interview Shaz about her new business. She talked to me about her current and future goals, inspirations, and even how those of us not lucky enough to live in Brighton might get our hands on a custom-made suit.
How long have you been working in fashion, and what got you involved?
I have only been in the fashion industry for this past 12 months. The idea for the company and consequent training and company formation was born from the vision I had had for many years to create a bespoke clothing company for Butch women. The House of Butch we like to say!
How did you get the idea to start the Butch Clothing Company?
The idea was purely born from my own experience. I know, being a butch all my life, how difficult it is to safely, enjoyably and successfully purchase a suit that fits perfectly.
What makes your clothing unique?
We have taken classic male fashions, styles and designs and stayed true to them, because that’s what Butch women want As I always say, we aren’t reinventing the wheel. But through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction we have worked out how to fit a suit perfectly to any butch women no matter their height or weight.
How has the response been, from the lesbian community and otherwise?
Well there have been a couple of negative – dare I say rude – comments about me (which I find actually very amusing), but I have to say the rest of the world has embraced the idea , the company and me. As a company we are thrilled and excited by the positive responses from every corner of the globe, from well wishers and perspective buyers.
What are your future plans and goals for your company?
We hope to continue to grow as a global company while remaining committed to our responsible business practice and our partnership with our ethical manufacturer. We are committed to developing a world wide client database. As for our designs, we will consistently offer stylish, classic bespoke suits of the highest quality. And who knows, we may even consider a casual range for The BCC brand. Wouldn’t that be cool!
How would you describe your personal style?
I have many styles from casual to formal. I have an eclectic taste. I have however, having entered into a very loving relationship and given up smoking in the last 2.5 years put on considerable weight which I am currently in the process of dropping. Ask me the same question in 6 months!
Is there any hope of buying your clothing for women not in the UK?
Yes, we are very happy to consider overseas clients. What we intend to do is catalogue the interest around the world and try and map out where the main interest is. In the USA, for example, we have alot of interest in New York. So when we have a list of clients stateside in NY or willing to travel there, we will arrange a consultation room and offer the same service we do in Brighton. Clients will pre book an appointment, and we will charge an upfront reservation fee to ensure the clients will keep their appointments. Then we will meet; discuss the clients design; choose the fabrics, linings and detailing; and then measure up for the suit. When the suit is ready we will return for the final fitting.
A minimalist wallet. With enough room for 6 cards and a built in money clip, this wallet is perfect for a night on the town and won’t make a big bulge in your pants pocket. Unless that’s what you’re going for …
$90 from Supermarket
Olive Canvas Stitchouts
When sandals aren’t quite enough, wear these canvas slip-ons. They’ve got a rugged but summer-y look that is great for the beach, the bar, or the disc golf course. Plus, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a kid who needs ’em every time you buy a pair for yourself.
$58 from TOMS
Medic Alert Leather Cuff
Do you need to wear a medic alert ID for allergies, meds, conditions, or anything else? This customized leather cuff with a brass, copper, or nickel plate might help you match your medical jewelry to your style. There are all sorts of choices for leather and metal colors, and the seller seems very willing to customize the bracelet however you might want it.
$32 from Michellev2’s AreFire store
Friday Movie: Better Than Chocolate
The lesbian classic Better Than Chocolate is now available for streaming from Netflix. It’s a great movie about a woman’s struggle with her orientation, identity, and family. Plus, Christina Cox is hella cute.
Breaking Down Homophobia
There’s a great project up on Kickstarter (a site for folks to get funding for their projects) by photographer Drea Zalaquett, whose goal is to create an art show featuring queer couples and families of all varieties. She’s got some great shots both on her web site and on the project updates page, and I’m really excited to see how the show comes together. It looks like the money will be used mainly for framing and lighting expenses. And if you pledge $5 or more, you get your own free signed print from the artist!
Go take a look
How To: Cook With Your Car
The way to any woman’s heart is through her car engine. Er, stomach. Whatever. Either way, you can woo your lady or save time during your commute by cooking with your car. Yes, with. Not in, or on, or near, but in fact by using the heat that your car produces from driving.
The key is to discover the temperatures of the various metal bits under your car’s hood, which you can do by poking around after a drive. Then, match these up with your usual recipes – the hotter parts of the engine perhaps for red meat, the cooler parts for fish or for slow-cooking recipes. And the final ingredient is aluminum foil. Lots of aluminum foil. Enough foil to wrap the hell out of your food, and then wrap it again, and then wrap it some more for fun, and finally wrap it to make sure it’s firmly wedged against the closed car hood.
Ok, so it’s not terribly practical. But it would certainly be fun to try on a road trip, and imagine showing up to work every morning and taking out some freshly cooked bacon and toast.
Read more about it here, or buy the authoritative guide on the subject: Manifold Destiny