Kickstarting Suits with the Dapper Dollar

Bay Area fashion start-up Saint Harridan, featured by DapperQ in a recent post, has launched its Kickstarter campaign to roaring success. Their crowdfunding campaign has passed the halfway point towards the target after just a day, and the early bird reward packages are almost entirely sold out.

This incredible achievement comes as the result of months of community building with women and trans-men who have a hard time finding masculine formalwear on the high street. Their off-the-rack range of suits and shirts is making mens-styled suits that fit our bodies at an affordable price. The huge support that this venture has received shows that Saint Harridan’s fans, many of whom are also DapperQ readers, are a large, powerful and enthusiastic market. The fashion industry has always ignored gender non-conforming communities, insisting that the market doesn’t exist. $50,000 later, Saint Harridan has made a great start on proving the industry wrong.

Saint Harridan has faced obstacles at every turn, with specialists entrenched in the mainstream industry saying that the product won’t sell, that the market isn’t there, and some even implying that men’s-styled suits for women cannot be made. But Saint Harridan’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous models showing off their prototype suits are staring down those barriers.

Commerce and civil rights are not the same thing, but having a place in the fashion market is an important kind of visibility. In Britain in the late nineties, the idea of the ‘pink pound’ emerged – the notion that gay men were an ideal market for consumer goods. It’s not a perfect idea, considering the reduced opportunities that LGBT can people face due to workplace discrimination, but it transformed the high street and arguably formed part of a broader social change towards valorising the place of queer people in society.

With recent Kickstarters like Saint Harridan, you could say that there’s a ‘dapper dollar’: gender identities outside of the mainstream bring a unique set of sartorial needs, and any product that meets those needs will find a strong community of stylish people longing for clothes that make them feel powerful and sexy.

It’s thanks to strong communities like the one we have here at DapperQ that any of this is even possible. To me, the power of online communities to bring people together and make the impossible a reality is inspiring. It gives me confidence that my masculinity is stylish, strong and deserves to be expressed. To me, this feels like part of something much bigger. As one of the models told me, ‘we’re going to tell our grandchildren that there was once a time that masculine women couldn’t buy suits.’

If you’re even a little bit as excited about suiting up as I am, please go and support the Kickstarter campaign by buying yourself or a friend a suit, shirt or t-shirt for Christmas.

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