Champions of Pride 2023: It’s our annual celebration of some of the fierce, fearless change-makers and creatives who continue to make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people — and this year, we’re focusing on the beautiful diversity of our community.
When Vicky Pasche started the genderless clothing brand Dapper Boi with her wife, Charisse, in 2015, she admits, “It really started selfishly, for my own personal reasons. You know, shopping in the men’s department is not a very fun experience socially, and I realized along way that the fit was never really there either.”
Not only did the menswear options rarely fit her body properly, Pasche says she was tired of getting “sideways looks” in both the men’s and women’s departments. To get their business idea off the ground, the couple invested a lot personally, even sacrificing their four-bedroom townhouse to live in a 630-square foot apartment (“termites included,” they joke).
They started with a simple pair of jeans (which stretch!), as Pasche explains jeans were the first piece of men’s clothing she ever wore that made her feel herself. But they just weren’t comfortable.
Clothes are not just about fit, says Pasche, but about expressing who you truly are. And as someone who came out later in life, she says there was “a lot of emotion and vulnerability going down this journey.”
These days the Pasches have a bit more living space again — thankfully, as they are now raising preschool age twins — and Dapper Boi is a thriving business that continues to bring joy and confidence to all kinds of people. They also recently appeared on ABC's Shark Tank in efforts to expand Dapper Boi's reach.
“It’s so much more than women that look like me — it’s men who have curves, people that don’t love shopping in the gender department they’re assigned to,” she says. “It’s really just bringing attention to this kind of archaic way of thinking: because you’re a woman you must shop here, and a man must shop here. We really try to go above and beyond those norms.”
As their mission statement says, Dapper Boi came into existence to “ensure everyone has access to affordable, stylish clothes that fit both their body, and more importantly, their personality.”
“We have customers tell us every day how much we’re changing their lives,” adds Pasche. “We even had a mother reach out to us, years ago.… Her daughter was suicidal and saw one of our crazy ads — where we’re just goofing around in our confident clothes, being our confident selves — and she was smiling again.”
courtesy DapperBoi.comCharisse and Vicky Pasche (far right) recently appeared on ABC's Shark Tank to help expand Dapper Boi's reach.