Toronto dad inspired by his daughter to create swimwear brand for trans girls
A Toronto dad just created a swimwear brand designed specifically to suit young trans girls after being inspired by his 12-year-old daughter's journey with gender identity and clothes.
"Ruby's relationship with so-called 'girls' clothing and shoes, as she navigated through her gender identity, may have started as early as three years old," Jamie Alexander told blogTO of his daughter Ruby.
"Towards the end of third grade, when she was ready to transition, Ruby started wearing brightly coloured sweaters with a sports bra underneath and purple leggings. It took Ruby a while to start wearing dresses, starting at holidays and occasions like Rosh Hashanah or a birthday party."
It wasn't long until Alexander realized that as an adolescent, Ruby wasn't just going to need colourful sweaters, leggings and dresses, but also athletic wear.
"With the whirlwind of activities at school and after school, such as swimming, gymnastics and dance, came the necessity to buy swimwear, leggings and leotards. This caused no end to the anxiety I felt for how Ruby could safely wear form-fitting clothing," says Alexander.
"It was boardshorts for swimming at the beach and frumpy sweatpants for gymnastics. In July of 2019, Ruby and I went on a sixteen-day trip to Panama, where every day was filled with new adventures. There were many chances to go swimming but together, we decided that for her safety, Ruby would continue to wear her boardshorts."
What Alexander had to find, and didn't, was a suitable alternative for Ruby that was as close as possible to the "girls" clothing her friends could wear. Thus, his swimwear brand Rubies was born, not only with a mission to create great swimwear that fit properly, but to support the larger trans community.
The brand launched in spring of 2020, after testing over 10 product prototypes with over 50 families. To date, through profits from Rubies, t-shirt sales and a GoFundMe, the brand has raised $25,ooo in order to donate hundreds of swimwear bottoms to young trans people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford them.
Technology that combines soft compression, spandex and mesh is the key to the carefree comfort that signature best-selling form-fitting swim bottoms from Rubies provide.
The bottoms come in black and pink in sizes 6 through 20 and cost $51, and a one-piece costs $66, and every order comes with a handwritten postcard of support. They continue to take donations to distribute the swimwear.
Alexander told blogTO the bikini bottom is their biggest seller "as this is the one that solves the problem."
The pieces are pricey, but customers have responded incredibly well to the brand, with reviews like "These bottoms have taken all the image anxiety away" and "These bottoms are perfect for my daughter. We have struggled to find something for her to wear for swimming, and this is the ideal solution. She can now go swimming without fear of being stared at or judged."
"I love all the feedback I get through my website on the products, particularly those that point to the fact this is a life changing product and lead to happy tears. My customers do the selling for me," Alexander told blogTO.
Rubies is also set to release a new underwear line in 2021, so more happy tears are in the works.
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