HERstory in Black: Jalisa Luces-Mendes
Luces-Mendes founded Toni Marlow, a company that designs boxer briefs for women and transgender men
In honour of Black History month, CBC brings you stories from HERstory in Black, a Toronto-based digital photo series profiling 150 black women from the GTA and other parts of Ontario by How She Hustles, a network of 5,000 diverse women.
Who: Jalisa Luces-Mendes
What she does: Founder of Toni Marlow, a Toronto-based clothing brand that specializes in boxer brief underwear for women and transgender men.
What inspired you to start Toni Marlow?
Jalisa Luces-Mendes: You know, women's underwear options just didn't suit me and men's boxer briefs is what I preferred, but they don't fit my body as I have hips and different parts than men.
So, I decided that I would do something about that. I mean if your underwear is uncomfortable, how's the rest of your outfit going to be good? It's an underserved market. Rates of women who wear men's clothing is our primary market followed by just women and transgender men in general. When you're not seen in fashion, you're not seen period.
What do you hope people take away from the 150 photos of women featured in HERstory in Black?
Jalisa Luces-Mendes: It's evidence that I'm here, I've done something and I matter and I exist. And, also, that they matter and they're here and they can do whatever they want to do. And that we are documenting ourselves and keep doing what you're doing and finding those opportunities to do that.
I hope it will just be an inspiration for them to just keep doing the thing that they want to do, that they love.