Lizzo, Fabletics announce new gender-affirming shapewear — but 1 trans-owned brand isn’t happy about it

A trans-owned, gender-affirming clothing brand is calling out Yitty, Lizzo’s new shapewear company, after Yitty announced a new inclusive collection.

Urbody, which launched in March 2021, accused Yitty on Twitter of using the brand’s gender-affirming garment designs a day after Yitty announced Your Skin, a new line catering to “trans, non-binary, gender-fluid and gender non-conforming communities that have been chronically underserved.”

According to the tweets, Urbody alleges that Yitty placed an order for Urbody compression tops in 2022 and then used them to design its own garments.

“When your team ordered a full size run of our trans-owned & operated business’s compression tops in 2022, we emailed to open the door,” Urbody wrote, adding that the brand wanted to “speak up for trans folks who’d been doing this work to be at the table of #YourSkin from the beginning.”

Mere Abrams co-founded Urbody with friend Anna Graham Thorpe after years of not being able to find affirming underwear as a transmasculine nonbinary person. Urbody made a splash when it debuted, especially with its Active collection, which went up against the nationwide discrimination against trans people in sports.

Urbody did not respond to In The Know’s request for comment, but Abrams did post an update on the Urbody website on April 4. In it, Abrams said that they were “encouraged” when Fabletics, Yitty’s parent company, initially reached out for the compression tops.

“A brand with the reach of Fabletics and the platform of Lizzo could have the potential for tremendous impact on the needs of trans and gender non-conforming people,” Abrams wrote. “We were excited by the potential to see our community have a meaningful seat at the table with a brand represented by Lizzo and her powerful, vital message of racial and size inclusivity.”

Lizzo has 2.2 million Twitter followers, and her name is currently listed as FOLLOW @YITTY. The Yitty Twitter account has over 35,000 followers and is owned by Fabletics, which surpassed $500 million in annual revenue in 2020.

The Urbody Twitter account only launched in March and as of now has 80 followers. But the brand is one of the few available for trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming individuals to buy garments that truly fit and are safe. For example, Urbody’s compression tops are designed to be comfortably worn all day, compared with many chest binders that can be dangerous when worn for too long.

Abrams and Thorpe also explained to CNBC in 2021 that they had to develop their own sizing templates for manufacturers to make the garments since a lot of designers were reverting to universal templates for “male” and “female” bodies. Abrams and Thorpe both had to keep their full-time jobs and fundraise from family and other communities in order to build the business too.

According to Abrams, Fabletics did not respond to Urbody’s initial reach-out in April 2022. In early 2023, Fabletics allegedly placed another full-run order — this time of Urbody’s tucking garments — and then agreed to meet with Urbody.

“We expected to see our community represented on the team — but we did not,” Abrams claimed. “We followed up multiple times with a proposal for how we could partner but were largely ignored and brushed off — despite the Yitty team previously sharing that trans community insight was a gap for them.”

The bottom-line argument in Abrams’s post and in the Urbody Twitter thread is that if Yitty and Fabletics are going to cater to the transgender community and use transgender bodies to model their products, they should also prioritize having trans experts involved in the business and operational side of things.

Zackary Drucker, an Emmy-nominated producer for the docuseries This Is Me and producer on the show Transparent, also tweeted Urbody’s message to Yitty to her 9,000 followers. Drucker replied to Lizzo’s announcement of the launch, saying, “If you’re going to make us the face of your line, we should also be the backbone … we feel taken advantage of.”

Urbody concluded the thread with the allegation that it wasn’t until March 30, the day Yitty announced Your Skin, that Urbody was asked to collaborate for “consultation services.”

“Gender afferming wear shouldn’t be made w/o consulting trans people,” a tweet that Urbody liked on Twitter said. “You can’t make a whole product without these consultations then turn to get them after the brand is already announced.”

Yitty, its parent company, Fabletics, and Lizzo have not responded to Urbody’s allegations publicly yet.

In The Know by Yahoo is now available on Apple News — follow us here!

More from In The Know:

6 TikTok creators to follow in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility (and because we love their content)

LGBTQ youth will be marching in all 50 states for autonomy in response to anti-trans legislature

Aaron Rose Philip isn't going to wait for the fashion industry to catch up to her: 'The hard work is never over'

Listen to the latest episode of our pop culture podcast, We Should Talk: