Fran Dunaway

She's liberating gender norms, one boxer brief at a time.

Fashion Forward
Naomi Gonzalez
 Photo Credit: Courtesy subject

As adults who identified as tomboys, Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez craved a fashion brand with androgynous tailoring. So in 2013, the two launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 in 30 days for their own business, TomboyX. For a year, they hawked button-down shirts, polos, and blazers with mild financial success. The real breakthrough then came when a customer service call keyed them in to the potential market for unisex boxer briefs. The first launch of their signature underwear sold out in two weeks, and company revenue tripled in six months. A two-time Inc. 500 honoree, TomboyX has since grown to more than 35 employees and $10.4 million in annual sales while expanding from underwear into swimwear and bras. The co-founders are now married, and together have raised more than $17 million in venture capital, with more than one million pairs of underwear sold. “Most brands like to tell people how to be cool, but we feel that you’re cool the way you are,” says Dunaway. “We’re not for everybody, but we are for anybody.” --Zoë Henry