F’N: Creators of The Flash Football Wedding and TomboyX
The couple behind the brand TomboyX are the new IT GIRLS! Chief Executive Officer, Fran Dunaway and Chief Operating Officer, Naomi Gonzalez have created the brand TomboyX and in simple terms—knocked it out of the box. No pun intended. Out with the old undies, there’s a new game in town and you won’t leave home without them.
Fran and Naomi a.k.a. F’N, are married to one another, and to the idea that brands can be a force for positive change. They were little girls who were pressured to be girly girls; instead, they were—and are—tomboys. Both grew up frustrated yet clear-eyed and took the simple idea of fit and the cost of fitting in and transformed them into a bigger conversation about gender, confidence, acceptance, and inclusion. TomboyX is a brand that says: WE ARE ALL PEOPLE.
TOMBOY [ TOM-BOI ]
1. Any person who is utterly, completely,
and unapologetically themselves. Who is not afraid
to stand up, stand out, be heard, be seen. On their terms.
2. Someone who expresses and dresses themselves
in a way that feels authentic to them, without worrying
about what other people might say.
The couple met in 2009. Fran was a producer for an media strategies firm and ran the bi-coastal office between Seattle and Washington D.C. On one of her trips east, the president of her company suggested she meet a woman named Naomi, who was new in town. They met, hit it off really well the first time… and hung out… a lot. It was just a friendship for a year. They spent time getting to know each other each time Fran came to town. Naomi developed a crush on Fran. Fran? She was clueless. Naomi was in a relationship and really wasn’t looking, until one day she couldn’t deny it any longer…
They were meeting in front of the bookstore at Dupont Circle before going to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the museum. How apropos—nod, wink, smiley face. Naomi got out of the subway and saw Fran across the huge roundabout. Fran had on a long black coat and hat and Naomi thought, “That is one cool woman.” In that moment, everything shifted in Naomi’s head and in her heart, she knew she wanted something more. They had a great night together and that was that—a year of long distance dating ensued, until Naomi packed up and moved to Seattle in 2011.
Naomi was a sports massage therapist at the time and shortly after moving to Seattle she began hearing about Fran’s constant frustration about not being able to find the perfect button down shirt. Fran had just turned the big five OH! She had some medical setbacks that were impeding on her ability to continue doing triathlons and her body was changing. She couldn’t find a shirt that fit her body. She wanted something that had cool details, a collar and a cuff and wouldn’t gape open. It was only in men’s shirts that they could find the cool details. They wanted a shirt with quality, the right fit and with some personality. F’N didn’t know a knit from a woven so they hired a designer and did an initial line with a kickstarter campaign. That’s where the name Tomboy began. F’N raised seventy-six thousand dollars and got zero returns on the shirts. However the name Tomboy began to resonate and they saw that as the opportunity to do something different. They recognized that they had this brand opportunity that was more about the name and they wanted to define a hero product that was not specific to “how you look on the outside, but how you feel on the inside.” So they started listening to customers who were requesting boxer briefs for women. They tested the underwear market, sold out that product, and in 6 months tripled their revenue. They saw the white space and TomboyX was born.
They decided to get married on January 31, 2015, the day before the Super Bowl. They had just started the business and begun working with Courtney Loveman at Crispin Porter + Bogusky to refresh the brand and the brand promise, and had no time to prepare a wedding. They had to do it fast because they were about to start a three month accelerator program with MergeLane to take the brand to the next level and they only had a small window to tie the knot.
One afternoon they took a long walk around Seward Park to discuss wedding plans. One of the challenges was “how they were going to include everyone with friends and family all over the U.S. who would feel left out if they weren’t invited.” So, they decided to have a football game and invite everyone. It wasn’t just an ordinary football game and this was no ordinary wedding.
They chose football because Naomi is a huge New England Patriots fan and Fran is a huge Seahawks fan and those teams were headed to the Super Bowl! So they decided to pull together a flash football game and have their friend Carma, a police officer slash clergy, marry them at the game. They had called Naomi’s brother and Fran’s parents that morning and told them they were getting married at 6pm and to be ready for a Facetime call in.
The game began at Seward Park with everyone in full football gear. At half time, Carma blew the whistle and said, “Does anyone object to these two getting married?” Everyone stopped, confused, dirty, sweaty, and Fran’s knuckles even a bit bloody. Then they realized what was about to happen. Two people were appointed to Facetime Fran’s parents and there they were, dad in his dress blues and mom in a gown, both with a glass of champagne in hand. Fran’s mom leans in, squinting and in her thick Mississippi accent says, “Are they playing football?”
They walked down to the water, said their vows, got married and finished the second half of the football game. The reception was held at a pizza place where they had a private space for all to enjoy some pizza and beer. The next day they flew to Boulder, Colorado and watched the Seahawks lose to the New England Patriots.
TomboyX closed New York Fashion Week this year with the most important show yet at the Brooklyn Museum. Curated by Anita Dolce Vita and dapperQ, it featured the biggest up-and-coming queer designers navigating the fashion world today. The show kicked off with models for TomBoyX dominating the stage, wearing gear from Clear Coated Rainwear and showing off the distinctly disruptive underwear underneath. TomboyX stands for all people regardless of age, race, creed, sexuality, size, or ability… which fit in perfectly with the theme, “R/EVOLUTION.”
“There’s no question clothes are one way we order the world. We use them to tell if someone is male or female (or wants to be one or the other), what they do, how much money they have, what bands they like, what country they come from, etc. Whatever you do in your private life, clothes are public signals about how to read you. They are part of the social contract. If that order is thrown up in the air, how will we know what snap judgments to make?” New York Times, ‘Jaden Smith for Louis Vuitton: The New Man in a Skirt’
TomboyX is that brand that says, “Snap Judgements are just as superficial as they sound.”
Get 15% off TomboyX with code PROWDR HERE. You won’t leave home without them.
Brook Altman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prowdr.com. To learn more about how this extraordinary LGBTQ lifestyle website came into being, check out Welcome To Prowdr.