Kayla Burnett is on a mission to provide customized gender-neutral clothing to people of all body types and identities.
Burnett, 25, a non-binary master of fine arts candidate, began their business Neitherandboth in 2020 during the height of COVID-19. Through this time of uncertainty, Burnett wanted to inspire Gainesville residents to express themselves and embrace their identity through their clothing.
“I found that through making clothing, it could help people to keep feeling good, and closer to community despite being quarantined and isolated,” Burnett said.
Burnett began their business by screen printing T-shirts with queer identity designs on them. As Neitherandboth grew, Burnett focused on providing gender-neutral clothing in all-encompassing sizes.
In addition to representing the LGBTQ community and providing equitable sizes, Burnett is passionate about helping the environment. Through recycling and composting, they are working towards becoming entirely waste-free in the production process.
Burnett said crafting and individualizing each piece of clothing helps the environment because the wearer is less likely to discard something they actually enjoy.
“I truly think that we can all do better, and I wanted to create a way for people to make conscious choices when buying their clothing,” they said.
Over the next several years, Burnett hopes Neitherandboth will continue to expand through partnerships with local LGBT organizations and clothing businesses. With these partnerships, they anticipate practicing sustainability by recycling fabrics that might have otherwise been thrown out.
“I want to teach other small businesses and individuals that choosing to use eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable tape and recycled cardboard can inspire others to make changes,” they said.
Intention goes behind every detail when Burnett begins a design. Burnett pays careful attention to who the person is and how the clothing can best reflect a person.
“The most important process to me is listening to people's stories and coming up with designs that will make them comfortable in what they are wearing,” they said.
Phrases such as “chaotic queer,” “the homos,” “dyke” and “fag” make appearances on the various garments, exemplifying unabashed pride for one’s identity, by not allowing typically harmful words to cause shame.
Bee Lynch, a Santa Fe graduate, exchanged one of her paintings for one of Burnett’s button-down shirts she liked.
Lynch met Burnett through a project she was working on and admired the LGBTQ representation in Burnett’s designs.
“As a queer person myself it was great to not only support another queer community member but also have just a general understanding in values that I know I wouldn’t get anywhere else,” she said. “My experience was an absolutely positive one, and [I] hope for the continued success of the brand.”
Burnett hopes to create a safe space for LGBTQ and non-binary individuals by providing the freedom to explore their gender identity through art.
“My personal experience of being non-binary has flourished in finding confidence through my style and feeling more myself,” they said. “I hope my impact can create that for other people, or at least be a part of that journey for someone.”
Burnett previously helped set up local events that are catered to art markets. Prior to the pandemic, they collaborated with T4TEA, a queer dance night and drag show that features queer and transgender performers. More information on Burnett’s work and events can be found on their Instagram and Depop.
Contact Bryce at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @brycebrownn on Twitter.