He calls it the Nike of the nonbinary generation.

Both& is a one-of-a-kind clothing brand coming out of the mind of former University of New Mexico student Finnegan Shepard. That’s the beauty of its uniqueness–it’s for both everyone and no one.

“For me, Both& is a really important space to recognize basic the dignity of the community and that we deserve to have a brand for us,” Shepard said.

Born out of an epiphany during the pandemic, Shepard created and pitched the brand as the missing piece for so many people identifying as transmasculine, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming.  Shepard himself felt and saw the need in the mirror first-hand when there just wasn’t anything right for him while recovering from his top surgery in 2020.

“There’s dissonance between how we see ourselves and how the world reflects us back. Words and fashion translate us to the outside world,” he said. 

Both& as a name struck Shepard as what needed to be the message for the present and future. He believes identity is multivalent and constantly transforming.

“I felt like there was time for a brand that was articulating a vision of gender identity and presentation that was more aligned with the future,” he said. “Rather than an ‘either or’ kind of world- we have to live in a ‘both and’ kind of world.”

While letting the idea sit with a New York design team, Shepard surveyed and interviewed thousands on what their biggest struggles were when it came to identity and clothing. 

“Much like plus-size clothing and maternity wear, we need a proprietary fit system,” he said.


T-shirts were first on the docket. 

“The interesting thing about what we're creating is when we design something that fits_it's almost invisible because it just works,” he said.

From there, sales began for hundreds, then thousands of customers who found exactly what they were looking for, including Shepard. 

“I have never had a pair of jeans that fit me before in my life before now, and it’s a pretty amazing feeling. I'm just wearing a t-shirt that happens to fit my body and you won’t notice it because it just fits me. The wow factor is how it feels.” he said.

While jeans will come on the market soon, Both& has swimwear, pants, hoodies, and most recently, a button-down. It may seem like simple items to many of you reading this, but is something anyone struggling with their identity, or going through a big change sees as a lifeline.

“I think everyone has had the experience of feeling like you don't fit in. Amplify that by 100 or a 1,000 and you have what trans people are dealing with every single day,” Shepard said.

He says the reviews have been extraordinary, and brighten any difficulty he may experience in the business world. Recently, more and more parents have been reaching out to Both&, asking about clothing for pre-teens just discovering themselves and transitioning. 

“I’ve gotten countless emails of people saying something along the lines of ‘I put on your clothing and looked in the mirror and saw myself for the first time,” he said. “It’s that feeling of self-recognition.”

The company has doubled its profit in just a year, with a rise in order sizes. Shepard said his time studying humanities at UNM prepared him for overcoming challenges in entrepreneurship. 

Both& is also closing in on a $1 million investment round including commitments from many investors within New Mexico, and he’s still accepting.

The state could also be the springboard for the company in the future.

“It's really nice to feel like I could actually have an impact economically here,” he said. “New Mexico I can make a difference in. In many ways, it does not make sense for Both& to be in New York or Los Angeles. We’re a queer brand, it makes sense for us to be based in a ‘queer’ space.”

Shepard believes New Mexico has the right combination of a queer community with needs, and a welcoming business community, for a physical store in Albuquerque.

That’s the goal for the next three years just to start.

“In five years I want us to be known as the one-stop shop of the nonbinary population,” Shepard said.

Breakout brands of the last 50 years, Shepard believes all follow a similar playbook. They solve a problem for a niche community, build an evangelist following and worldview around that community, and scale that outward. Both& 's playbook is the same, but targeting the ‘niche’ of trans and gender nonconforming people. 

“Too often, sadly, we are just political fodder or charity cases. We need to have spaces where we can move beyond that and begin with different questions like the very simple human questions of are your needs,” he said.


In time, Shepard wants everyone to understand the sense of belonging that is at stake, and the role clothing can play in achieving that.

“Clothing is a very powerful tool. When you don’t have those tools, it’s like your worst fears are being reflected back at you,” he said. “We all deserve to feel comfortable in our skins and clothing can be a really huge step in facilitating that.”

Find out more about the creation of Both & products and what’s coming next, at their website right now. You can also reach out to Shepard directly with inquiries at the email here.