rubies swimwear

Toronto dad behind swimwear for trans girls creates bra for non-binary teens

A dad who just wanted his daughter to be comfortable while doing the activities that every child loves tried to help her by launching his own swimwear line for trans girls, and now that it's blown up, he's taking things one step further with a bra for trans and non-binary teens.

Rubies was created by Jamie Alexander in honour of his daughter Ruby, initially launching swimwear in 2020 that utilizes soft compression, mesh and spandex to create carefree and comfortable athletic wear.

As for the idea of the new bra that the company is coming out with, Alexander says he only has his customers to thank.

"It was something my customers started asking for," Alexander tells blogTO. "They told me there were limited options available and that their kids wanted desperately to fit in with their cis friends who were developing."

This isn't the first new product he's come out with, launching underwear in 2021 after working out design and manufacturing.

"I discovered that the same group of people that wanted to feel comfortable swimming also wanted options for comfortably wearing leggings, skinny jeans, dresses and skirts," says Alexander.

They're just starting on the design process for the new bra, which will be a bit of a change for Rubies as it will bump up their demographic to a bit of an older age range, with their products originally developed for kids ages four to 14.

However, though the brand uses youth sizing, they technically carry up to the equivalent of an adult 2XL.

"Very quickly I discovered that teens and adults were also looking for sizes they could fit into," says Alexander.

Initially he had assumed there wasn't really a need for him to make a bra-type product, as there are already many padded bras, training bras and bralettes on the market, but then parents started begging him to make his own option for their kids.

"I asked them why the many existing options out there did not work. There were a variety of reasons, but mainly it is that many trans teens have not yet gone through any development up top," says Alexander.

"They either have not started HRT or do not have access to it. Most bras are designed assuming some level of development has occurred."

Right now, a Rubies bra is in the early stages of development with an initial prototype, and they know they'll go through many more.

Rubies products already allow for mixing and matching of various shapes of padding, and the bra should be the same, allowing for experimentation with padding as well as putting on a bra using clasps or by slipping it over the top of the head. Straps also might end up farther apart to accommodate for larger torsos.

"My daughter Ruby fit tested the prototype last week at my studio in Toronto," says Alexander.

"As I watched her posing in front of the mirror, I could tell from her huge smile that just like when she tried on her first pair of bikini bottoms she was thinking, 'Yes. This is me!' All Rubies products are about allowing our community to feel more comfortable and confident taking part in the activities they love."

He expects there should be at least four to six more months of research and development before Rubies can get a bra into production, but they're hoping to start pre-orders as early as next month.

So far Rubies has a one-piece swimsuit, bikini top, low rise and high-waisted bikini bottoms and a mermaid pattern sarong, and in addition to the bra they're also working on developing swim shorts.

Rubies is also continuing with their goals to support LGBTQ+ families in various ways, acting as a company as well as a community, including a program that gives families free Rubies products.

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