Queer Customers in Search of Good Fit
QueerCut is a global, gender-free marketplace and online community that connects LGBTQ+ shoppers with queer friendly brands and products, while also providing educational support for customers who lack experience in finding attire that fits their gender expression and style preference and brands who lack experience in online retailing and customer engagement.
STYLE, EXPRESSION AND FIT
We know first-hand how difficult it can be to find clothing that matches gender expression and style preferences. While online shopping has provided so many more options for queer customers, it still takes copious amounts of time to find products we like online.
And then there is the issue of actual fit, which is hard enough if you fit conventional binary size standards, but very difficult when you fall elsewhere on the gender spectrum. Fit is also an issue for customers who prefer to wear clothing that is made by traditional brands for the "opposite sex, " including cis-females who prefer to wear tailored suits and button-up shirts, and cis-males who enjoy wearing less tailored, more draped styles. According to QueerCut founder Joshua Williams, "there is a growing need for brands to create clothing specifically for queer customers. Creating a button-up shirt that fits like a traditional men's shirt on a female-bodied person, requires a complete redesign of a shirt. It's not as simple as making a few adjustments."
Designers such as Daniel Friedman, founder of Bindle & Keep, and Laura and Kelly Moffat, founders of Kirrin Finch are at the forefront of rethinking fit for queer customers. According to their website, the Moffats developed their brand to meet "the growing demand for gender-defying fashion by creating menswear-inspired apparel designed to fit a range of female bodies. The inspiration for the business was borne out of our own frustration at being unable to find clothes that match our personal style."
As the queer community has become more visible, there has also become more awareness around the needs of queer customers. Masha, the founder of WickedMmm, a handmade lingerie company based in Montreal, gets right to the point in their mission to be more inclusive: "Sexy lace lingerie made for people with packages. We are all for breaking down gender norms and stereotypes." And this inclusivity is important to LGBTQIA+ customers who prefer to support brands they know share their values. Joshua concurs, "our data suggests that 80% queer customers want to spend their money on queer-specific brands they know have their best interests at heart."
While queer-friendly brands are popping up to serve a wide variety of queer customers, it's hard to find for them to find visibility in the highly saturated fashion marketplace, a topic we delve into further in the post Queer Brands Seeking an Engaged Customer Marketplace. Customers currently rely heavily on word-of-mouth and personal recommendations to find queer friendly brands. For customers who are not so lucky to live in places with active queer communities, they rely heavily on social media platforms, such as Instagram and LGBT blogs and news sites such as AutoStraddle, to find fashion that fits their needs. These numbers are borne out in a recent survey led by QueerCut, where they found that 65% of queer customers rely on friends for style and fit inspiration, while 53% of queer customers find inspiration on Instagram.
MAKING THE CONNECTION
"We are obsessed with need to create a meaningful connection, a nexus, for queer brands, influencers and customers to engage," states Antonia Predovan, co-founder of QueerCut. She continues, "the web is the perfect way to connect the work that many brands are already doing in this space and to make their products and services more visible. We want QueerCut to become a trusted online resource for all things fashion and style with a focus on the needs of all LGBTQIA+ shoppers."
As part of the pre-launch of the QueerCut marketplace, the customer survey mentioned above continues as an effort to better understand the needs and challenges of queer customers in finding and purchasing the right personal fit and style. If you would like to participate in the short (6-8 minute) QueerCut Customer Survey, please click here. Your participation is very much appreciated.
If you are queer brand, and want to be part of the QueerCut marketplace, please provide your company details on the QueerCut Contact page.
- Adrian Gray, CQB, Chief Queer Blogger