A father worried that his 11 year-old daughter would feel uncomfortable in a swimsuit took it upon himself to design a bikini that would be comfortable for trans girls.
Last year, Jamie Alexander was heading to Panama with his daughter Ruby for a trip to the beach he discovered that there was no swimwear available for trans girls. After researching online he found many parents in a similar situation.
Although he had no background in fashion or textiles, he was successful in his goal to create comfortable swimwear for trans girls that wouldn’t trigger gender dysphoria.
The company, named after his daughter, is called Rubies and its slogan is “Every Girl Deserves to Shine.”
“In the early days, when she socially transitioned,” Alexander said, “we put her in boys’ clothing for gym and swimming. But for swimsuits in public, it’s a general fear that you don’t want your kid to be sort of called out… it’s a potential safety issue.”
Alexander was helped by the business incubator, Ryerson’s Fashion Zone, who helped him network with industry advisers in fashion and technology.
Prototypes were developed and tested by 25 trans girls in the US and Australia and they now have a finished product.
Rubies is currently selling swimsuit bottoms for trans girls in black and sparkling pink which can be paired with tops purchased elsewhere.
Alexander says he would like to send free pairs to girls whose families can’t afford them.
They have plans to create a one-piece swimsuit and leggings for those who practice dance or gymnastics.
With each purchase, Alexander and Ruby include a handwritten card. On one card his daughter wrote, “You are like a star that shines bright, that’s more special than anyone else. And don’t let anyone dim that light.”
A woman who purchased the swimwear and received a card said: “As I was reading this, I was crying and this is tears of joy that someone really cares.”
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