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Visibility has always been a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s been incredible to witness how the world, and by extension, the fashion industry, has begun to advocate for change. From the call to action to support LGBTQ+ brands to ensuring the next generation of talent has a chance to get in the door, the industry has made immense strides in the right direction over the past few years. But on the flip side, there’s the boom of often inauthentic marketing tactics for Pride Month. Every brand wants to stay relevant, so they’re willing to drop rainbow-adorned pieces to be a part of the conversation without making regular contributions to organizations such as The Trevor Project and ACLU or supporting legislation that protects our civil liberties 

Don’t get me wrong. I love a color moment just as much as the next person and will always be an ally waving that flag. Still, I’ve found that most brands’ special Pride Month collections teeter into that cheesy territory and don’t always benefit the communities they’re targeting. So what’s the best way to actually support the community? In my mind, there’s no chicer way to do so than by first making regular donations to organizations and then supporting LGBTQ+ fashion designers. You don’t have to buy another cliché T-shirt (unless you want to); there are so many fabulous designers creating great pieces that can be worn and shopped year-round. 

So in that vein, I’ve rounded up the chicest finds from 30 LGBTQ-founded fashion brands. From campy-inspired cocktail dresses to androgynous button-downs, these pieces remind us that supporting the LGBTQ+ community isn’t just about wearing a rainbow for one month of the year; it’s about putting your money where your values are. And what’s more stylish than that?

Victor Glemaud has become a household name for his contemporary knitwear. While his pieces aren’t the “traditional” technicolor market you’d expect from an LGBTQ+ designer, his colorful knits are something you can buy now and wear forever. 

If you want to shop for a brand that matches your values, then look no further than Private Policy. The New York City–based label was founded by Haoran Li and Siying Qu and has made waves for its genderless collections that explore everything from the impact the transcontinental railroad had on Chinese immigrants to the Stonewall riots. 

Just because this isn’t a roundup of traditional Pride-focused pieces doesn’t mean it’s any less fun—hello, just look at this Brandon Blackwood bag. The Brooklyn-based designer has taken over the industry over the past few years for his fun accessories that anyone would be proud to wear. 

Genderless clothing can be chic. Case in point: Tanner Fletcher. Founded by Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell in 2020, this rising genderless label has managed to rapidly become a fan favorite among the fashion set for its vintage-inspired pieces that lend themselves to being timeless staples.

If you’re dreaming of lying by the beach this summer or exploring a far-off destination, then you’ll want to buy something from Peixoto. Founded by Mauricio Esquenazi, the Latinx LGBTQ+ brand specializes in swimwear and resortwear that exudes peak summer energy. 

You can’t round up some of the best finds from LGBTQ-founded brands without mentioning the one and only Marc Jacobs. This designer has single-handedly changed the American fashion landscape, making him an icon in his own right. 

The often boisterous and over-the-top Pride pieces are fun when you’re celebrating, but in the long run, they’re not the most practical purchase. Hence the need to buy from designers that are a part of the community. And what better brand to buy from than 3.1 Phillip Lim? The designer’s namesake label not only created pieces you can wear long past Pride Month, but he’s regularly advocating for the community, so you can feel good about this purchase all-around. 

If you want to understand the importance of buying from LGBTQ+ brands year-round, look no further than the rise of Telfar. You may now know the brand for its viral shopping totes, but it took Telfar Clemens over 10 years to build it to what it is today. Without the continued support of shoppers, who knows where this brand would be today—and a world without Telfar isn’t something I’m interested in. 

I firmly believe that true equality is met when a designer’s work is less about where they come from or who they are and more about the work itself. And no other designer quite leads with that ethos more than Jacquemus. No one is necessarily focused on Simon Porte, but they are talking about his viral pieces, which to me, is a true indicator of success.

Are you still attached to the idea that you must wear something colorful to commemorate Pride Month? Look to Abacaxi as your destination for pieces that will give you a taste of the rainbow and the world too. Each piece is designed by the Brooklyn-based rising designer Sheena Sood to champion sustainable fabric production and ancient craftsmanship techniques from around the world.

What’s one LGBTQ-founded fashion brand that you need to bookmark ASAP? Aknvas. The founder, Danish designer Christian Juul Nielsen, first worked for Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Nina Ricci before launching his own label and has since made waves for his signature staples with a bit of spice. Think cotton tops with rope accents and chunky knitwear with fringe. 

Mexico City low-key has some of the best rising talent coming out of it. Case in point: Victor Barragán. The designer founded his namesake label in 2014 and has become known for pushing the boundaries (both in design and the gender binary) through all of his pieces. 

Do you know how everyone in New York wore the Telfar bag before it blew up? Well, mark our words: The LGBTQ-founded brand Luar is next. The genderless label was founded by Raul Lopez in 2016 and has since been building a cult following that includes Nordstrom buyers and Dua Lipa herself. 

Some of the best designers are able to use their work to challenge ideas around sexuality, and such is the case with Ludovic de Saint Sernin. The Parisian designer began his career at Dior, Saint Laurent, and Balmain before launching his namesake label in 2017. Since then, he’s become known for menswear and womenswear that exudes a subtle sexiness that’s not limited to traditional binary definitions of what constitutes “sexy.” Think women donning oversize button-downs styled as a dress or men in cropped chain-mail tank tops. The result is clothing that will make you feel hot no matter how you identify.

Clothing should make you feel comfortable in your skin, or at least that’s the aim of James Flemons. The Los Angeles–based designer founded his genderless label,Phlemuns, in 2013 and has built a brand that’s redefined how we look at unisex clothing. These aren’t your boring one-size-fits-all pieces; Flemons stitches together utilitarianism with individualism through ethically produced staples (e.g., cargo pants turned into a pencil skirt or a baby T-shirt with colorful contrasting exposed). The result is clothing that you can feel good about all around. 

If you thought this was just a roundup of clothing and accessory brands, think again—Khiry is another noteworthy brand to put on your radar. Founded by Jameel Mohammed in 2016, this luxury jewelry brand has managed to carve out a space for itself in a saturated market. In part, securing the 2021 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund grant has helped, but for this Black and LGBTQ-founded brand, it all goes back to the jewelry. Mohammed draws inspiration from Afrofuturism, resulting in striking genderless pieces that feel as if they’re shrunken sculptures. A designer creating actual wearable art? We love to see it.

Question for you: When you think about living loud and proud, what does that look like style-wise? For some, it may be donning a phrase-adorned T-shirt or wearing every color under the sun. But I’ve found that no other designer embodies it quite like LaQuan Smith. The New York–based designer founded his namesake label in 2013 but has become a household name in the fashion industry because of his unapologetically sultry ready-to-wear pieces. His work (think full-length red lace gowns with cutouts or cobalt vinyl micro miniskirts) feels as if it’s a creative embodiment of what it means to embrace flamboyance in fashion. It is showing skin, doing the most, stepping into your villain era, and dressing for yourself, not for norms. In a society that is constantly passing laws to control people’s bodily autonomy, there’s something innately special about slipping into a LaQuan Smith piece just because you can.

Clothing has always been an essential part of storytelling for marginalized communities, and Edvin Thompson knows that firsthand. The Brooklyn-based designer founded his label, Theophilio, in 2016, the story he’s aiming to tell is evident in every stitch. Thompson draws inspiration from his Jamaican heritage and the Black queer community to inform his womenswear and menswear pieces—e.g., his S/S 22 collection featured a full-length yellow-and-green ball gown (the colors of the Jamaican flag). The result is a collection of pieces encouraging us to celebrate and wear the stories of the diaspora on our sleeves.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of buying one piece to celebrate Pride Month and then never wearing it again makes you sick to your stomach. Luckily for us, there are LGBTQ-founded fashion brands that create fabulous everyday staples—enter Ouisa. Founded by former stylist Bryn Taylor in 2021, the New York–based label specializes in French-inspired, made-to-order minimalist pieces that are meant to become a part of your everyday uniform.

Any preconceived notions around what androgynous fashion is should be left at the door when talking about Rich Mnisi. The Johannesburg-based designer founded his ethically produced label in 2014, but unlike other brands, his work is far from the cookie-cutter minimalism associated with genderless labels. Mnisi’s collections champion vibrant colors, maximalist prints, and dramatic tailoring, proving to us once again that challenging the binary through clothing doesn’t have to be boring.

When talking about LGBTQ+ designers that are changing the fashion industry for the better, you have to put respect on Christian Siriano’s name. While the designer may have stepped into the spotlight by securing the title as the youngest designer to win Project Runway in 2007, he’s stayed in it because of his continued dedication to using his work as a way to move the world forward. Before the industry discussed size inclusivity, Siriano made it a regular point to create clothing for women of all sizes on the runway and the red carpet. When other brands chose to opt out of the conversation around politics, Siriano sent gowns down the runway adorned with the word “vote” on them. Basically, Siriano has always been out here doing the work for the community and has the receipts show it. 

Not to sound like a broken record, but again, one of the best ways to support the community is by continuing to buy from brands that are founded by members of that community. And if you want to really make an investment, then look no further than Proenza Schouler. The brand was founded by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez in 2002 and has become a household name in the industry with A-list fans such as Bella Hadid and Alexa Demie. But it’s worth noting the brand’s rise to notoriety had to do with the continual support of the fashion community and proves once again that investing in LGBTQ+ talent is always a chic move in the long term.

So many brands have begun to see the value in unisex clothing, but none have reconstructed what that looks like quite like No Sesso. The Los Angeles–based fashion house was founded in 2015 by designer and trans woman Pierre Davis, with Arin Hayes at the helm of the business. Since then, they’ve managed to shake up the industry in a few ways, including making history as the first Black trans-founded fashion brand to show at New York Fashion Week. But possibly the biggest way this brand is paving the road for the future is through its collections. Davis draws inspiration from the community; it’s about subverting gender norms through deconstructed tailoring, handmade crochet, and unconventional styling. The result is pieces that are meant to be worn by everyone regardless of their sex. 

You may now know Maximilian Davis as the newly minted creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, but what you may not know is that this British-born designer has been newsworthy for quite some time. Davis made his foray into the fashion industry under Wales Bonner until he decided to launch his namesake label at the humble age of 24. Despite the brand only being around since 2020, the designer’s exploration of his Trinidadian Jamaican roots through aughts-inspired eveningwear has managed to secure A-list fans, including Dua Lipa and Rihanna, and landed him the title of fashion’s rising star. It’s safe to say that Davis is one designer you’ll want to keep on your radar.

Some brands may preach the values of inclusivity, but Prabal Gurung’s work embodies it. Long before the fashion industry was beginning to reckon with systemic racism, misogyny, and homophobia, Gurung was already leading the way. The Nepalese American designer launched his luxury label in 2009 and has since become a force in fashion for his continued dedication to using his platform for good—he’s used collections to speak up about protecting the rights of women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community. In many ways, Gurung created the pattern for what it means to be a brand with values and by default made supporting what’s right forever stylish.

Behind every LGBTQ+ style icon is a great stylist. Case in point: Lady Gaga’s former fashion director, Brandon Maxwell. Gaga may be cemented into the zeitgeist forever because of her 2010 MTV Video Music Awards meat dress, but Maxwell is cemented into fashion’s lexicon for his glamorous eveningwear. It’s one thing to be a successful stylist for years (which Maxwell was), but to be able to launch a namesake brand in 2015 and have it become one of the most talked-about brands among the fashion set and secure two CFDA awards is a feat in and of itself. It’s safe to say that when we’re talking about iconic LGBTQ+ designers, Maxwell has earned his place in the culture.

If you were searching for the perfect outfit to wear to a night at Studio 54 in the present day, I imagine Christian Cowan would be the first place to look. The Cambridge-born designer founded his womenswear label in 2017 after moving to New York. And while he may be from across the pond, he’s been able to nail the vibe of New York itself through campy party dresses that feature sequins, crystals, and feathers packed up in classic silhouettes. Cowan does something rare with his work—he brings back the fantasy of fashion itself and makes everyone from celebrities to fashion people dream of dancing the night away in one of his signature frocks.

You can’t round up iconic designers without mentioning the one and only Jason Wu. The Taiwanese Canadian creative’s work has become a significant part of the fashion industry, as he’s a mainstay not only at New York Fashion week, and he’s dressed American icons such as Michelle Obama and Diane Kruger. But it’s not just his longevity in the industry or even his celebrity fans that make him worth your time—it’s also his approach to design. While his pieces are traditionally feminine, they always feel fresh (think watercolor-printed gowns, appliquéd cardigans, and tiered ruffle midi skirts) and remind us that the best talent always keeps us on our toes.

For rising designers, many pray for a breakthrough moment, and there’s no greater point of success than when a first lady is spotted donning your work. So you can imagine what it meant to Sergio Hudson when Michelle Obama wore those perfectly tailored burgundy pants to the 2020 inauguration. That moment cemented the South Carolina–born LGBTQ+ designer into the lexicon, but let us be clear that this wasn’t a fluke. Hudson has been building his namesake label since 2014, and you can see the hustle in the clothes. Tailoring with a glamorous ’80s flair is the signature of all of his work and reminds us that, like his career, Hudson’s success always goes back to the love (and sweat) put into the seams. 

You’ve made it to the end of this story and hopefully realized that supporting the LGBTQ+ community is far more than donning a tie-dye T-shirt once a month—it is supporting the community year-round. You can do that through regularly donating and protesting xenophobic and homophobic laws being passed across the country. But possibly the easiest way to show your support is by shopping from LGBTQ+ fashion brands.  And if you still want to wear the rainbow, we recommend shopping for a piece from Christopher John Rogers. The Baton Rouge–born designer founded his label in 2016 and has since taken the fashion industry by storm because of his technicolor ready-to-wear pieces. He’s not only secured an A-list following, including Zendaya and Gabrielle Union, but he won the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Roger’s work is a reminder of the full vibrant spectrum of possibilities within the fashion industry and this community.

Next: I’m Super Into These 11 Queer Female and Nonbinary Designers

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