When Buzzfeed published its list of “23 Instagram Accounts That Are Doing Tomboy Style Right” in October of 2014, the phones of barber Brittni Goshulak and videographer Meagan Henderson began buzzing – and continued to buzz with notifications for the rest of the day. New followers. New comments. New Likes. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
True to its name, the pop-news site had created something of a social media frenzy surrounding the local duo who, only a few weeks before, had created an Instagram account under the moniker Flannel Foxes. They tagged their posts #Tomboystyle (which is how Buzzfeed found them) on a tongue-in-cheek account with a very simple purpose: to illustrate how men’s fashion need not be relegated to men only (and, perhaps, could be improved with a woman’s touch).
Over one weekend, the duo had picked 10 looks from men’s fashion photos on Pinterest and fashion blogs and re-created them with the duo serving as models. It’s the same concept they use today.
But, at the time, all the duo knew was that something odd was going on. “We had 170 followers of just friends and family. Then one day while I’m at work, I picked up the phone and we had picked up 100 followers in an hour. We were used to one a day,” says Goshulak. “It was crazy. All day it went up, 50 more, 100, more and 200, 300, 400, then 1,000.”
By the end of the month the number had reached 3,000 and today it has over 6,000 followers, an accompanying Pinterest page, Tumblr and a website – complete with a Tomboy fashion blog and a store for the newly created Flannel Foxes apparel line.
What started as an idea over bowling is now something of a second job for the “foxes.” But for the two, it’s really just an extension of themselves. Henderson has always played sports and just adopted a more masculine style, while Goshulak, who stands six feet tall, always wore more men’s clothing than women’s for practical purposes – not to mention the influence of men’s fashion while surrounded by the boys at the barbershop where she works.
When Flannel Foxes made their retail debut at the Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair, with a line of caps, t-shirts and snapbacks, the duo sold out of most of their stock. With their retail success both at the fair and online, the duo plan to move product in to some local stores and shops abroad but, in the meantime, are selling their unisex wares at the 124 Grand Market this summer.
And, more importantly, the face-to-face contact provides an avenue to interact with Flannel Foxes’ local followers. “A lot of girls dress like this, but there hasn’t been everyday girls representing the style,” says Goshulak.
“It’s more common than mainstream blogs represent,” adds Henderson, “I think people gravitate towards us because 90 per cent of fashion blogs are very feminine. We just represent something different; we appeal to the girls who are more comfortable in a flannel shirt than a skirt.”