Style » Fashion

Women's Wear: Hot Lesbian Designers, Part 2, HAUTEBUTCH

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Saturday Sep 27, 2014

For tomboys, butches and trans men, finding clothes that fit right and don't come with bows and frills is a real bitch. Women's clothes, with their tight cuts and cap sleeves, are out of the question. Men's clothes hit closer to the mark, but unless you're built like a linebacker, they hang oddly -- too long in the sleeves and not big enough in the butt.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then these sexy motherfuckers have come up with just the thing to keep us happy. The tailored fit of this clothing will have you looking good, and the fact that you're supporting the LGBT community will have you feeling good.

So whether you're looking for the perfect suit for that special day or clothes that make you look good every day, these three talented designers really fit the bill.


African-American butch Karen Roberts had enough of wearing ill-fitting men's clothing when she decided to found HAUTEBUTCH in 2012 in Santa Rosa, Calif., and make clothes that fit her body as well as her worldview.

The clothing line features tailored dress shirts, jackets, footwear, blazers, casual wear and accessories. The designer believes that butch women feel empowered when they don clothes and shoes that express who they are, and promote confidence and power.

"We are proud, capable women that are in need of our very own unique fashion expression," HAUTEBUTCH CEO Roberts told EDGE in a recent interview. "It is so wonderful to watch people enjoy their visibility and stand in their truth with clothes that fit them, and let them be authentic and original."

Like Going, Roberts used real people, not models, to show off the clothes, and said that "people are really embracing seeing people they know up on the runway, their family and friends, and watching them transform from not only the outside into what they're wearing, but also having a sense of pride projected on the runway as people are showing off their own style."

HAUTEBUTCH offers a wide line of casual wear for butch women, and intends to expand that as finances and resources allow, until it is a one-stop shop for well-made masculine fashions for women at a reasonable price point.

"I have many other ideas and designs in mind; I want to cover the entire spectrum," said Roberts. "I want to be able to look at the perspective of diversity within the butch culture, from people that like to dress in a menswear-inspired label, from soft butches to hardcore butches on the more masculine end, and I feel like right now we are only catering to a few groups within that demographic."

"Ours is an untapped market, and we should no longer be forced to shop in places that are not fitted for us." Roberts says. "I think there is an abundance of space for us to coexist, and I'm thrilled to be part of it. We look forward to seeing many more companies offer merchandise to our community."

To check out their line of apparel, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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