SheWired Featured Artist: The Butch Clothing Company - England
As a site that features entertainment and news geared toward the lesbian community at large we are committed to highlighting artists, musicians and craftspeople in the community. We'd like to introduce you to Shaz Riley's Butch Clothing Company.
Founder and Director Shaz Riley developed the Butch Clothing Company (BCC) out of a concept born from experience. Shaz, a 46-year-old butch lesbian realized the need for a company that provides women the opportunity to buy suits made specifically for them – not by altering a men’s version, or settling for an overtly feminine design or fit. The company’s main focus is bespoke handmade formal attire.
Riley launced the company in 2009, creating clothing based on classic male styles and the latest fashion trends.
BCC is based in Paddock Wood Kent in England. Many clients are women (and sometimes men) looking for the perfect outfit for civil partnership ceremonies or weddings. Shaz makes it a point to personally meet with every client as BCC is dedicated to creating perfectly fitted suits for women around the world. As part of that effort, the company now offers Skype consultations to all prospective clients not located in the UK, or unable to meet face-to-face. In addition to custom made suits, BCC also offers an extensive range of accessories including cufflinks, cravats, ties and money clips.
There is a page on the (newly redesigned) BCC website filled with client images from various events. The website’s new format also includes an interactive blog page and an ever-growing image gallery, including a “look book” section.
In addition to offering a great unique product, BCC believes in responsible and ethical business practice and only uses manufacturers who believe the same. Per BCC’s ‘About Us’ section:
Suit production is run in the Far East and through our manufacturer’s ethical code of practice they are committed to running workshops as opposed to sweatshops, paying 50% above the national wage for all employees. They take great pride in enriching the local community and environment.
The Butch Clothing Company's mission statement:
The concept of our brand is simple. Butches are women; they are women who choose to wear men’s style clothing. Although let us be clear, since launching the business we have had a multitude of clients all of whom identify in many different ways and as a company we welcome everybody! [...]
In addition, we do recognise that Butch/Lesbian is an identity, a way of life, a way of being and we have embraced the idea that a fashion house for Butch/Gay women is an exciting and exhilarating concept that can only enhance our lifestyles.
Although aimed at butch/gay women the company is non-exclusive. We embrace diversity and will design for Female & Male.