Fluide co-founders Isabella Giancarlo (left) and Laura Kraber (right). Photo used with permission.

Fluide challenges the paradigm that makeup is for cis-gendered women.

Jacob Tobia models Fluide’s products. Photo: Morgan T. Stuart.

Why are there no queer beauty brands?

This question inspired Fort Greene resident Laura Kraber and Crown Heights resident Isabella Giancarlo to co-found Fluide, a makeup company that explicitly bills itself as being “for all gender expressions, gender identities, and skin tones.”

When they met, Kraber was working at a health and wellness startup and Giancarlo was doing the company’s rebranding. Through conversations with Giancarlo and her teenage children, Kraber saw an opportunity to try something new.

“I thought, what is the brand that speaks to the way young people understand gender today? There was nobody representing that perspective,” said Kraber.

The pair launched Fluide from their Brooklyn homes at the end of January. In six short months, they’ve amassed an Instagram following of 7,000+ and have garnered write-ups by Teen Vogue, Allure, and BuzzFeed.

“We’ve gotten amazing feedback,” Kraber said. “People really seem to like what we’re doing.”

Fluide co-founders Isabella Giancarlo (left) and Laura Kraber (right). Photo used with permission.

Cosmetic companies have traditionally marketed their products exclusively to cis-gendered women. Fluide’s mission is to welcome makeup lovers of all genders.

“Makeup traditionally has been seen almost as a tool of the patriarchy,” Kraber said. “Women were told, ‘improve yourself, look better, cover your pimples’. The idea for us is to embody optimism and irreverence.”

Fluide’s Instagram overflows with gender non-conforming models with bright lips, iridescent eyelids and sparkly manicures. Subtly is not the desired effect.

“We find it very liberating,” Kraber said. “It opens up the opportunity for makeup to be powerful.”

Fluide seeks out LGBTQ photographers and creatives to work behind the camera as well as in front of it. They donate a portion of their profits to LGBTQ organizations and name their products after legendary queer spaces.

One such product is a glittery nail polish named after the now-shuttered Starlite Lounge, a black-owned bar that served as a community hub for LGBTQ people in Crown Heights until it was priced out of the neighborhood in 2010.

“It’s a small homage to how important those safe spaces have been to the queer community,” Kraber said.

Model Dominick Banks glitters in Fluide polish. Photo: Lee O’Connor.

As always, diversity abounds in Brooklyn, and as a place to start the first queer beauty brand, Kraber says she couldn’t have picked a better spot.

“It’s a great place to meet creative people,” she said. “We’ve been able to tap into such a wealth of talent here.”

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Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson is a Brooklyn-based reporter whose work has appeared in Brooklyn Eagle, Queens Eagle, Gothamist and elsewhere.

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