Five swimwear brands for bigger men and bears

NoRal Apparel

Designer LaRon Hickerson and models at this year’s Big Boy Pride (Photo: noralapparel.com)

NoRal Apparel is the creation of Kentucky-raised LaRon Hickerson (aka Ron DuWayne). He graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design and launched NoRal Apparel back in 1999. He’s a keen advocate of body positivity and made it a central theme of his brand’s focus for 2021. This included a fashion show at the recent Big Boy Pride in Florida using some plus-size models. DuWayne, who is gay, creates and sews all his products himself.

NoRal Apparel at Big Boy Pride. Model @randeltoney (Photo: Miguel Zain)

“I’ve always been passionate about representation,” he tells GayCities. “Creating plus-size apparel and the use of plus-size models is essential to delivering this message. It feels good to create something one-of-a-kind, or in limited quantity that’s hand-crafted to all body types. The ability to dream and create is truly a blessing.”