Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Jason Sherard, founder of Stripped Underwear, began his entrepreneurial journey after graduating from Johnson & Wales University. Initially founded in 2010, the black owned business has recently launched a skincare line along with new, creative projects. “I started Stripped because I wanted underwear that I felt represented me and my body type. I’m a thicker built man with thick thighs and butt with an average sized waist. When Stripped first came out, there weren’t many known black-owned underwear lines.” the designer shared.
Historically, gay men are often cited as innovators and leaders of the fashion industry; yet, gay black men and black queer designers do not receive similar support and backing as their counterparts receive.
Sherard shared his experience as a queer entrepreneur, “For any queer black person to have their work reflect their mission statement, they need to walk in it and be visible. For me, I needed to show people that a thick body is sexy, and show them why you can be confident in your own skin. It took me years to get that confidence, but now I have it and people love it!”
He continued, “I don’t care about someone saying, “You’re too thick, you have no abs, etc.” That’s not me, and I live for me unapologetically. My customers are the same. I’ve received a lot of messages from people saying how they appreciate how I represent them and their body image. They feel sexy and self-confident now.”
“Embodying sexiness, confidence and a sense of boldness” is a phrase often used to describe your fashion line’s aesthetic. From the fabrics, stitching and manifesting colorful garments, every detail is thought of. From thought, sketch and to fittings with models, Sherard’s passion.
“The color choices are important as well, as they are what sticks out in people’s mind. This is what sets Stripped apart from other brands. A bright, in-your-face color palette to show people that standing out and accepting your body is sexy,” Sherard voiced.
Funding for independent fashion lines is one of the first hurdles many entrepreneurs face. With his father’s inspiration, the Sherard shared his encouraging beginnings. “I fund my own line, and I worked hard over the years to save my money to be able to create my brand. My father was also an influential part of the brand. He always told me, “Make sure you are the one funding this, and don’t get loans unless it’s truly needed. Don’t have your business in a position where someone else can take ownership. If you want this business, make sure nothing and no one can take it from you.” That’s always been my driving force for support.”
Fashionable plus-sized clothing and lingerie are often hard to find. Luckily, Stripped Underwear appeared in Dallas Men’s Fashion Week, a range of immeasurable fashions. The line is currently working on new sizing, which will include XL-XXL.
Stripped has plans to work with black LGBTQ celebrities in some capacity. Black queer celebrities like Peppermint and The Vixen are noted for supporting and wearing black queer designers. “I always saw a future for Stripped with celebrity endorsements and campaigns,” Sherard voiced.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some small businesses have slowed down, especially entrepreneurial support and drive within the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, Stripped has a skincare line earlier this year. This expansion incorporates women in creative ways.
“Earlier this year, I launched the skincare side of Stripped, called Body by Stripped. I’ve been playing with different recipes and I’m so pleased that people love the results. Everything we make is all natural, using shea butter, mango butter, coco butter and everything is blended with all-natural essential oils.”
Stay current with the Stripped Skincare and Underwear line, on their official website.