Black History Month 2019: FLAVNT Streetwear
“Tell us about FLAVNT.”
FLAVNT Streetwear (pronounced “flaunt”) is an LGBTQIA+ clothing line founded by Chris and Courtney Rhodes, twins from Austin, TX. Chris is a trans man and Courtney is a lesbian, so we wanted to create a brand for and by queer people that could also give back to our community, in the form of fundraising partnerships. We are currently on our 12th fundraising partnership (10 of which have been with trans masculine individuals, and 2 have been with trans feminine individuals), and in the last 4 years have raised over $22,000 for those 12 people. We design all of our merchandise ourselves, print the majority of our clothing by hand in our studio in Austin, and have turned our graphic design degrees into a fun and meaningful career path for us both.
We sell clothing such as shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, and joggers, as well as a line of Bareskin binders.
“How did your company start?”
FLAVNT was born at Austin Pride in 2013, Chris was wearing a shirt that he had made with the phrase “pretty boy” on it, and was approached by dozens of individuals at Pride asking where he had gotten it — this made us realize that there were a lot of people who identified with this phrase that he identified with and that maybe we were onto something. Fast forward a couple of months and FLAVNT was officially founded in April of 2014: the name FLAVNT came from the idea of this brand being about being proud of who you are and flaunting that.
“It’s clear philanthropy is an integral part of your company. Can you speak a little bit about that?”
As mentioned, we partner with trans individuals seeking gender-affirming surgeries. We seek these partnerships through an application process, then work to get the whole community to rally behind this one person and make their goals of this life-changing surgery feasible. It was important to us to do these partnerships with one individual at a time because it creates urgency, lets people get invested and feel as if they want to follow along in this journey with someone at a pivotal moment of their transition. A lot of trans folx don’t have the support of family, friends, or community, so this program builds that for them. 15% of all of our sales go toward our current fundraising partner, and usually these fundraisers last anywhere between 3-6 months.
“Who are some other trans or LGBTQ entrepreneurs that inspire you?”
Aydian Dowling of Point 5cc and Point of Pride has always been someone we have admired. He has been a great role model within the community, also running a philanthropic clothing line and putting his time and energy, and using his platform, to give back in ways that we think are incredibly important.
“What do trans people of color need to hear today?”
We think that trans people of color need to be heard more than need to hear something from non-POC members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We want to be able to use our platform, and our partnerships, to help lift up and assist our POC LGBTQIA+ siblings whenever we can, and show them that they are an integral part of the community (hell, we wouldn’t be here without the POC Trans Women at places like Stonewall that paved the way for all of us where we are today). We want to make sure we always allow them the space they shouldn’t have to fight so hard for, and exalt the voices of all of our community members, especially the POC individuals who are often overlooked in society in general.
Written by Point of Pride
Point of Pride provides financial aid and direct support to trans folks in need of health and wellness care.