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For Them binders 05
Photography Marissa Fortugno

For Them is the LGBTQ+ label designing inclusive binders for all-day wear

The result of extensive community-based research on what makes the perfect binder, Kylo Freeman’s label provides size-inclusive, safe-to-wear styles for anyone who wants to wear them

In 2021, actor-turned-entrepreneur Kylo Freeman logged onto Discord to ask trans and queer people to dish out their experiences of wearing binders and what might make the perfect design. After combing through hundreds of messages sharing that DIY binders made from first-aid kit bandages were unsafe, and that more readily available options were “uncomfortable, painful, and itchy” – plus taking their own past experiences of wearing binders into account – Freeman launched For Them: an LGBTQ+ community space, providing healthy, inclusive, and sustainable binders for anyone who wears them.

“The community shouldn’t have to choose between gender euphoria and safety… I knew [they] needed something better, so I built it,” Freeman explains. “As I interviewed folks in the binder development process, it became clear that the community was under-served across the board.” Compiling the feedback into their designs, For Them now boasts a 14-piece collection of binders with a range of compression capabilities and sizes, all of which are made from 100 per cent recycled fabric.

“Compression tops in the past have often been rigid, dig in weird places, roll up, or don’t go far enough down, so solving those problems was the first step,” continues Freeman. “We wanted to create a design that compressed and achieved the flat chest look folks were looking for, without undermining movement or breath. This was a very technical pattern challenge which we overcame and patented.” Importantly, “We also wanted the pattern and finishes to be hot so people could proudly show their binders if they wanted,” they add.

With that in mind, For Them’s first-ever binder offers breathable compression, anti-itch, sweat-resistant fabric that won’t dig under your arms, and the freedom to wear all day long – which is a big leap away from the shorter safe-wearing times binders configured from bandages offer. Elsewhere, For Them’s newest release, The Binder Max, is developed with more compression and higher necklines based on feedback from customers [the company operates on a “you ask, we listen” business model, says Freeman]. This one can be worn for four to six hours at a time for maximum coverage. Both designs are reversible and come in a wide-range of colour options to match each customer’s personal style.

Besides setting out to create elevated binders, Freeman created their designs to be inclusive of everyone in the community. “Binding is for everyone and anyone who wants to wear a compression top,” acknowledges Freeman. “Too often, folks see binders as a product only for pre-op transmasculine folks, but folks of many identities enjoy wearing them for many reasons. Post-op transmasculine people wear binders as a solution for swelling, cis-gender people wear binders as a comfortable alternative to a bra or if they want chest flattening.”

Taking this into account, For Them offers a size range from 22 to 68 inches around the fullest part of the chest and uses soft fabric for those who might have sensory sensitivities. For those using binders for the first time, For Them also provides in-depth guides on measuring your chest size, advice for safe binding, and ships its products in discreet packaging.

“Too often, folks see binders as a product only for pre-op transmasculine folks, but folks of many identities enjoy wearing them for many reasons” - Kylo Freeman

“I have no binder endurance, but I just found one that I can wear for eight hours,” one customer shared, reviewing For Them’s binders on TikTok. “It has a really wide neck-line which gives me a lot of options for crazy clothes that I can wear.” Elsewhere, another user shared their OOTD on TikTok – using The Binder as a crop-top, paired with high-waisted jeans and layered-up necklaces. “I wear them for four to five hours very comfortably as someone with asthma,” they explained.

Expanding its resources far beyond Binders, For Them has recently launched The Playground – a members-only platform, providing LGBTQ+ wellness tools like its gender-tracking app [which allows users to log their daily moods and gender evolutions], access to For Them’s close friends Instagram stories, exclusive product drops and discounts, and a place for users to find community IRL and URL via the brand’s discord and events. As a zero-cost option, the site also contains a free selection of articles exploring queer topics that often aren’t discussed within traditional media – from managing chest dysphoria to using birth control while on testosterone, and setting boundaries with family during the holidays.

“We sold 40,000 units of the original Binder, so we knew building products for queer and trans wellness through our lens was needed,” says Freeman. “It became clear in the candid feedback and asks we received from our community that this was just the tip of the iceberg of their under-served needs.” 

They add: “Setting off on this mission to build the gender tech folks need to have their wellness journey supported like their cis-het counterparts – that was a big moment. More than just a feedback loop for product needs and app functionality for the queer community, [it’s] queer revolution in action.” 

Shop For Them’s binders here, and click here to sign-up for The Playground.