Clothing is a billboard advertising ourselves to the world. As such, we seek comfort—even if what we’re wearing isn’t comfortable, per se. For some, however, finding comfort is a little bit harder. For transgender individuals, looking for clothing that properly fits their bodies can be a challenge. That’s the impetus behind bespoke Brooklyn clothing company Bindle & Keep.
What began as a custom suit company for men, more or less operating out of a truck, has blossomed into a full-fledged business catered to designing suits for men, women, and transgender people—basically, everybody and every body is welcome. “My only experience is that I started a blog because I wanted to make people feel like they’re not the only ones out there trying to shop in places where they don’t feel welcome,” Rae Tutera, one-half of Bindle & Keep, told us. (Daniel Friedman is the other.) Indeed, the notion of feeling welcome is the thread that keeps Bindle & Keep so strong. Speaking about their first official meeting, Friedman explained they didn’t talk about suits or gender identity. “We just shot the shit,” he said, “and that’s kind of how we do everything in this company. We get to know our clients.”
In the new trailer for HBO’s forthcoming documentary about Bindle & Keep called Suited, you hear Friedman explain that their clients don’t typically come to them asking for a fitting, but rather say, “This is my story.” It’s clothing that helps tell our story, after all; why make it anything but personal?
Now, after conversations with Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, Bindle & Keep’s story is being told en masse. It’s an extension of Friedman’s hope and goal of seeing people “actually becoming who they want to be.” That moment is rare and, as Friedman told us, “is complicated and nuanced.” Just like fashion. Just like gender. Though fashion knows no gender, the two go hand-in-hand.
Suited premieres June 20 on HBO.