Tanner Richie & Fletcher Kasell Are Feeling The Love

The Tanner Fletcher designers are championing genderless fashion and looking to the future

by Aaron Royce
Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion design, Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

Designers Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell are taking romance to new heights! Since launching their label Tanner Fletcher in 2020, the pair have become ones to watch with their focus on genderless fashion for all. Today, Richie and Kasell’s designs are regulars in editorials and the Met Gala—and with a new studio, vintage shop, and wedding collection, the designer duo are only growing towards the future. We sat down with the pair to chat all about their upwards trajectory in fashion—and where it’s going next.

Tanner Fletcher, Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kassell, fashion, LGBTQIA+, LGBT, designers

Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

What inspired you two to launch your brand together?

Fletcher: We started thinking about starting a brand in the middle of the pandemic. We were making these tote bags and random objects like a hobby, and small boutiques started buying those things. We were like, Oh, we might have a business on our hands. So we thought, Let’s sit down and develop something and dream big. The genderless idea came up with our style, [and] we knew we were very interior design-focused. Tanner comes from an interior design background, so we wanted to bring in a lot of design elements, like references to 1940’s interiors and stuff like that. But we also wanted to make sure that it was more genderless, that we just ignored [gender]. We had gone into department stores, and people were like, Oh, the men’s section is over there. We didn’t like that it was separated in that way, so we basically ignore gender when it comes across.

Tanner: It was sparked by being bored in lockdown with nothing to do, so we started designing and crafting tote bags as a hobby together. It wasn’t until they started selling that we thought about starting a brand of our own. The final push was the genderless concept. We wanted our brand to have meaning behind it, and to make a difference rather than just sell a product.

When did you notice your brand growth in the fashion industry?

Fletcher: There wasn’t one big situation where it was like, Oh, wow, now we’re a popular brand. It’s still happening. Certain winds really helped the brand grow. When Bad Bunny wore our bow blazer for Time magazine, that really helped us get some visibility and helped sales start to increase. Then, when we were in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund [in 2023], that put us in the community and allowed us to meet a lot of the right industry people and spread the word about the brand. Most recently, we dressed six people for the Met Gala and launched a wedding collection. Both of those really helped take the brand to another level. All these steps along the way build a lot of validity behind the brand.

Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion designers

Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

You’re a couple, as well as co-designers. How do you do you balance personal and business life together?

Fletcher: Sometimes it’s hard, but we really like it. It’s good for us. I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anybody else. We also wouldn’t have done this individually on our own, so it all worked out in a good way. From the first moment that we met, we envisioned this life together. We didn’t know that would include starting a fashion brand—but we knew it was very creatively focused. After looking back, it makes sense that we started a fashion brand, because we have a type of style that we both want to live by and build into our lives. The fashion brand just makes sense. It definitely has its hard days; anytime we disagree on something, it’s something stupid, it’s not anything big. Sometimes it’s like a soap opera around here! But it’s all out of love, and it’s good.

Tanner Fletcher is a very romantic brand. Does your own romance influence your designs?

Fletcher: That’s a good question. I’ve never thought of it that way. It definitely comes through. I think also, the romance comes in with how we build our home—so, romance-adjacent. Sometimes we feel like Martha Stewart with our house; we’re always trying to come up with little details, or we shop a lot of vintage home and create these sentimental feelings around objects. We like saving things that are important to us, or saving things as a memory from a big moment in our relationship or our lives. That is the romance that really translates into the clothes.

Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion design

Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

Your brand is also specifically genderless. What made you decide to only make non-gendered fashion?

Fletcher: At the end of the day, it’s being put into a box. We didn’t like the restricted feeling. You want to wear things that maybe aren’t made for the box you’re supposed to fit in, and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. We still make more “women’s” clothes and more “men’s” clothes, but it’s for the customer to decide—not for us to decide. We wouldn’t ever say, Oh, this dress is only for women. It just feels like we’re putting people in a box. If somebody who doesn’t identify as a woman wanted to buy the dress, it adds a level of discomfort or a barrier that they would have to push through in order to buy that—[and] same in the opposite direction. Historically, women have had a bit more freedom in wearing menswear, but it’s still the same thing. We’ve noticed it with our wedding collections; we have a lot of brides that want to wear suiting, and they express that they don’t find another place where it’s as open or has many options for them. They might go to a bridal salon, and they have one tailored thing—they’re like, Okay, here you go, this is your tailored suit. It’s just not comfortable. We always say we like to take our customers out of a box rather than put them in one. Personally, with the department store reference earlier, we always had this feeling of wanting to shop in the women’s department—but people would come up to us and be like, The men’s section is over there, redirect us. That’s also uncomfortable. I think both of us growing up in small towns also experienced toxic masculinity, being gay men—these small towns try to put you in a box. Anytime I would wear something on the more flamboyant side to school, I would be made fun of. I think it all stems from that, and just removing any of the opportunities for those things to happen.


Why do you believe genderless clothing or brands are important for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Fletcher: It’s more [so] the fluidity and the style that the LGBTQIA+ community wears. It really appears in the wedding collection—it’s really challenging for a queer couple to go shopping for their wedding outfits, because there’s not really a place that identifies with them, unless you go more for the straight-up suiting or a very classic, very traditional wedding dress. [For] anything that’s not that, there isn’t a place to go. It’s just creating this spectrum of authenticity, and allowing anybody—including everybody in the LGBTQIA+ community—to just be themselves and give them the tools to buy what they think suits their personality.

What are some strengths you bring to the table as an LGBTQIA+ founded brand? And are there any challenges you’ve had to overcome over the years?

Fletcher: It’s mostly strengths for us. We haven’t noticed a lot of negativity surrounding us being LGBTQIA+, or the brand being genderless. We haven’t faced anything bad. The only barrier that we face with the business is some of the retailers are a little outdated—I would say that gender has a big part of their planning and their organization. Some stores don’t know where to put the brand in the store. We always leave it up to them; you choose where to put this, wherever you think your customer will buy it. Some people might think it’s a new category—like genderless fashion is a new gender, and that’s not what we’re trying to do. It’s just opening things up. It goes wherever you would like it to go.

Tanner: We normalize fluidity. You don’t have to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community to embrace all aspects of yourself, including masculinity and femininity. A sense of authenticity is our biggest strength. The brand is truly an extension of our personalities, which allows others to feel safe being their authentic selves. I like to look at our products as a tool that people use as a way to portray their authentic character.

Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion design

Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

Who are some of your LGBTQIA+ heroes?

Fletcher: One that just wore our clothes is Jinx Monsoon. Jinx just wore this very dramatic robe, called the Helen robe, for for a shoot for them. magazine. We’re just obsessed with Jinx. Sarah Paulson is another one. We love her! She just pulled from us—she didn’t end up wearing [the clothes], but we were so glad that she had the clothes in her hands. Something will work out there with her soon. She’s a really admirable person, especially with her wife. I just love the way that the two of them are together.

Do you have any brand muses, or people on your vision board? Who’s on your wishlist for people to wear Tanner Fletcher?

Fletcher: Whenever [we] get asked this question, we never really know what to say. We decided that we don’t really operate that way. Our dream is to just see the clothes being styled on an everyday person, more than seeing it on this celebrity. I would love to just see it walking down the street in its true form. I could name a few celebrities—I’m obsessed with Cher, and it’s a dream to have Cher wear something. It’s of course more nostalgic people that I dream of wearing, like Cher or Dolly Parton—an icon.

Are you two inspired by any specific eras, designers, or fashion periods? What’s on your moodboard?

Fletcher: It changes all the time, but right now it’s the 1940’s. We’re really honing in on the ’40s, and we just love the way that people dressed [and] decorated their homes. A lot of the time when we’re looking for inspiration, especially from the past, we start with looking at what the interior design trends were of that time. We always start there because we like to bridge the gap between interiors and fashion, so we find ourselves pulling more out of interiors than looking at fashion. If you think of the drapes and a skirted sofa, the lamp shades, the wallpapers, stuff like that. But we’re always bouncing around time periods! It’s ’40s right now, but we also love the Edwardian era. We love the Victorian era. Even the ’90s—we we go back to the ’90s a lot.

Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion design

Tanner Richie, Fletcher Kasell

2024’s been a big year for Tanner Fletcher. Can you tell me some of your highlights so far?

Fletcher: The wedding collection and the Met Gala have been the two biggest wins for us. We just had such a good time—[May] was such a whirlwind month. We went to Paris for Fall-Winter market—we we were in Paris, we came back [to New York]. We moved into our studio space. Then, we immediately designed the wedding collection and produced [it] to host market appointments at the studio space. Then, we got notified that we were doing the Met Gala, and then we kept adding people to that. Adam [Mosseri, CEO of Instagram] was first one, then we added the cast of The Wiz—which was four people—and then we added Jeremy Pope. It was just a crazy experience, and it honestly has hardly slowed down since. It’s one thing to the next. It’s a big step in our career, and a big level-up which we’re so thankful for. We’re just pinching ourselves every day. The studio space made a big difference, because now we can have clients here, we can have wedding appointments, we have a real space to run the brand out of. That’s made the biggest difference.

Tanner: Moving into our new studio is one of the biggest highlights. It allows us to meet so many of our customers in-person. It’s truly a multifunctional space. It’s our office, our showroom, our photo studio, a store, the list goes on—[it’s] life-changing, to say the least. The Met Gala and the wedding collection were the two other biggest highlights. [The] Met Gala was an amazing experience, we had so much fun. The wedding collection was cool because we are really starting to see the difference we are making, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community, by providing a safe space for them to be themselves on such an important day.

Tanner Fletcher, fashion, designers, fashion design, Avery Wilson, Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Kyle Ramar, Met Gala

Avery Wilson, Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Kyle Ramar of “The Wiz”

What’s coming up at Tanner Fletcher? What projects are you two working on for the future?

Fletcher: Right now, we’re focusing on what’s going on. We spent the first few years dreaming, and it was a lot of, Oh, we don’t know if this is going to work out. The future was very uncertain. Now, we’re living in a time where the business is taking off. All of the things we dreamed up are coming our way. We’re just taking things step by step, and trying not to get too overwhelmed. That includes our vintage home portion of the website—it’s been really successful for us. We’re going to try to expand that and continue growing the offering there. The other thing is Fashion Week—I won’t give too much away about that, but we’ll definitely be showing up in some way, shape, or form. We’re [also] building core collections—things that are more accessible, a bit more wearable, and always available on our website and to our retailers. I’m really excited about that. I think that will help the business flow better.

Tanner: We’re in the middle of what’s next. We spent a long time getting to where we are now. It feels good to let it happen and get used to it. Moving into the studio space and launching a wedding collection has set us up for a busy year—now we’ll see how things fall into place.

All images: Courtesy of Tanner Fletcher

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on all the latest fashion news and juicy industry gossip.

You may also like

Leave a Comment