Unpacking India’s glaring absence of trans-positive lingerie

Natacha (She/They)

Instagram/@nurturing.natasha

And although each trans body, and therefore its needs, are different, the opinion on why such a gap exists in the Indian lingerie market is more or less unanimous: the lack of understanding of transit in the fashion industry as a whole. “The trans community is marginalized and lacks representation at all levels. There is a lack of lingerie for the trans community because there are no trans people making lingerie for heterogeneous bodies due to systemic issues like housing and employment discrimination, casteism, transmisogyny, lack of access to security and health care. To this, Goyal, who studied fashion design and communication, adds that designers see no benefit in designing for trans people. She also points to strict binary-based size standards and a “lack of representation of real, everyday issues that trans people face, such as not having comfortable underwear.”

So, what would an ideal piece of lingerie look like for them?

“Coverage and support are really important to me. I prefer high end lingerie that has some compression and support but doesn’t prioritize “delicate” aesthetic that make the product seem fragile or hyper-sexualize the wearer (for the cis gaze). I find these qualities in lingerie can be empowering for a non-binary person who leans towards the masculine.”—Shraddha Kutty

“Every trans woman is very different and every trans experience is different. I want something that matches my idea of ​​sex appeal. But it should be affordable for most, if not all, trans people.”—Gagan Goyal

“The ideal top wear for the trans-male population should focus on fixing the chest, and wearing bottoms should have menstruation in mind when designing boxers and briefs.Tarun
“For topwear, I prefer the build bralettes and sports bras as they are more stretchy, so something like a crop top with built-in bust support would be ideal. As for the stockings, I can’t be sure because I haven’t used anything perfect for me.-Natasha

Indian underwear brand Tailor and Circus, in collaboration with Generation Mixx, aim to change the status quo with their latest product, a one-of-a-kind bottom that caters to all genders. “It’s still not the perfect fit for every anatomy, but it’s a start,” said Ruchika Parab, co-founder of Generation Mixx. “The idea behind this [product and campaign] is to get feedback from people and develop that further. Designed in a silhouette with various autonomies in mind, the bottom features longer inseams and adaptable leg openings for a ride-free wearing experience at every size, tailored flatlock seams that allow the adjustable pouch to provide support as needed by the body, dimorphic waistband and patterned construction, single-layer pouch that retains the style’s improved spandex-infused finish for an anatomically responsive front and nearly seamless blindstitched seams, as shared by Tailor and Circus.

But Abishek Elango of Tailor and Circus admitted they still have a long way to go. “There are certain challenges that make it difficult to assess what type of underwear would be appropriate for a trans person without being assessed on a case-by-case basis, or at least within subsections of the trans community. He adds further: “The word ‘trans’, at the level of product differentiation, is limiting and imprecise because it does not really tell you what type of requirements you have in terms of aesthetics as well as form, function and cut.”

After all, to design lingerie that responds not to a monolithic idea of ​​transited but to diverse trans bodies, there has to be interaction, communication, inquiry, and being receptive to those responses from a brand/brand perspective. from production.

Author’s note: The needs of each trans body are different. This article does not intend to generalize a trans person’s experience of their preferences, requirements, and challenges with buying and wearing lingerie.

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