Play Out Apparel, based in New York City and the metaverse, is a gender equal clothing brand and community launched to fill a gap in the market: allowing everyone to “Shop Your Style, Not Your Gender.”
Queer and trans owned, Play Out was co-founded by CEO Abby Sugar and Chief Design Officer Grey Leifer in 2018. Not seeing representation reflected in brands and apparel, specifically the lack of inclusivity in underwear, was the catalyst for these co-founders to design and manufacture it for themselves.
The gender-equal startups mission is to positively impact queer visibility and represent queer celebration. Queer people, gender nonconforming, and transgender individuals deserve to see themselves joyously reflected in clothing and brands. Allies, of course, are welcome in the community to shop, support, engage, and enjoy Play Out’s signature soft underwear and streetwear.
Each exclusive collection (all patterns) was once hand painted on a canvas by co-founder Leifer. The painting is then digitized and designed into lifestyle attire – now their turning the artwork into NFTs for inclusive representation on the blockchain.
Play Out defines gender equal shopping as dismantling the notion that gender defines style. Play Out offers inclusive, affirming apparel with affordable price points, unique artistic designs, and a shopping experience that is inclusive for all customers. The website does not have “Men’s” or “Women’s” sections; it has categories like “flat front” or “pouch space.” All tops are categorized as unisex.
Play Out is gender, race, age, sexuality, size (XS – 5X), and ability inclusive. By designing inclusively, this means there is equal opportunity for shape, size, color, and style in shopping, without gender categories or othering due to body differences – everyone should celebrate their authentic self-expression. All styles are designed in-house by Co-Founder Grey Leifer, and each collection’s limited-edition prints originate from Leifer’s paintings, then digitized and made into Play Out Apparel.
With 20% net profits going to LGBTQ+ and BLM organizations, Play Out Apparel is a Social Good Enterprise. Play Out works solely with a woman-owned manufacturer in Mexico who employs people over the age of 50, pays living wages and works directly with trans and LGBTQ+ communities. With a sustainability focus on responsible manufacturing, Play Out uses overstock/selvage raw materials (left by larger companies) and designs as much as possible using recycled fabrics.
Bigger vision for Play Out includes a wholly-owned circular shopping ecosystem where brand evangelists can buy-sell their clothes in the marketplace instead of always purchasing new; and establishing buy-back recycling partnerships. Making sure new-majority groups (especially women and the LGBTQ+ community) are participating and represented in these new and emerging markets and opportunities, Play Out is partnering with Web3 platforms to be THE gender-equal lifestyle brand, digital fashion designers, suppliers, and community experience builders.
A Founder Institute Select Portfolio Company – top 2% of its companies – Play Out was named one of its 50 Fastest Growing Companies of 2021, profiled in NYTimes last year and founder, Abby Sugar, was named to the 2021 Forbes Next 1000 List. Play Out has already raised $575K from value-aligned investors in their pre seed funding round (The Gaingels, LoyalVC, Andy Dunn, Tech Execs, etc).