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Butchbaby to debut 'alternity' clothing for pregnant masculine, trans, and queer individuals

Vanessa Newman, co-founder of Butchbaby & Co

The launch of Vanessa Newman’s first entrepreneurial project will make having her first child much easier.

“I’m so excited for it to be a real thing,” says Newman, founder and CEO of Butchbaby & Co., an androgynous clothing line for pregnant women who identify as butch, stud or other masculine-identified terms for women within the LGBTQ community.

Growing up between Olney, Md. and D.C., Newman discovered her personal style while transitioning into adulthood. “I was always very interested in menswear, having that clean simple look, how to rock the perfect shirt and tie and what that looks like,” she says. “Especially being in D.C., which is a suit city, I've gotten a lot of personal influence from the queer community by seeing so many dapper masculine professional women on the scene as well.”  

The 20-year-old fellow at the Enstitute--a national non-profit that provides young adults with one year apprenticeships at high growth companies across the country--conceptualized Butchbaby two years ago as a freshman at American University.

“I met my best friend freshman year of college. It was bromance at first sight and after we hit it off on the first week, we knew we’d be friends forever. We dreamt of growing old together, getting married not too far apart from each other and having children at the same time so that they too could repeat the cycle of friendship. The thing was, the both of us are butch. Whenever we envisioned our future together, the dream always stopped short at carrying children,” Newman shares on the company’s website.

Newman began to grapple with the fact that being pregnant might mean forfeiting the personal image that she has cultivated over the years. So she decided to do something about it.

In collaboration with L.A. based company Butch Basix, Newman conceived the term “Alternity.”

“We realized that there are butch women, but there’s a market for the transgender community as well so we wanted our language to be inclusive of that,” she says. “We found out that maternity was associated with ‘mom’ and ‘women’ and there are transmen who are having children and they're like, that term doesn’t resonate with me.”

Thus, Alternity means to reflect “the courage, individuality, creativity and dignity of masculine pregnancy” and “Alternity Wear” is apparel divergent from the hyper-feminine wear (i.e. maxi dresses) often associated with pregnant women.

Butchbaby Co.’s first collection will feature eight pieces of clothing: a nursing t-shirt, oxford button-up, jeans, pullover sweater, zip-up hoodie, sweatpants, boxer briefs and nursing sports bra.

“We're going to for a classic aesthetic, your everyday basic necessity wear that’s going to fit you comfortably and make you feel like who you are,” she says.

As the business side of the company, Newman is gearing up to launch a Kickstarter campaign this fall while her partner Michelle Janayea, a student of fashion design and business at Columbia College Chicago, is working on the design and manufacturing aspects.

“We're hoping pre-sales will open up during the Kickstarter period and we'll start getting products out by the winter,” she says.

Read more articles by Christina Sturdivant.

Christina Sturdivant is a native Washingtonian who's always watching and writing about the latest cultural, community and innovative trends in the city. She's interested in people and companies that create equitable opportunities for longtime residents and transplants alike.
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