Pride Month is officially here and while it officially kicks off a summer-long celebration of diversity, acceptance and love, it’s not without controversy, as a number of brands launch “Pride-themed” collaborations and merchandise in an effort to boost their own visibility within the LGBTQ community.
Brands collaborating with the gay community is not new: American Apparel, for example, has long been using LGBTQ models in their campaigns, and has a collection of slogan tees where 100% of net proceeds are donated to the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center. Still, some LGBTQ leaders have accused brands of using Pride as a marketing tool, pushing product over principle. To wit: this year has seen the release of everything from sneakers to mouthwash with Pride-themed packaging (read: rainbows and bright colors) and not much else. Are these stereotypical signifiers enough to convince the gay community — and everyone else for that matter — to open up their wallets to shop?
According to Lance Bass, it depends on the motivation behind the marketing. “It’d be nice if companies did these collaborations out of the goodness of their heart and not the bottom line,” says the ‘NSync singer and producer, who famously came out in 2006. “But I’m happy with anyone that gives us visibility.”
Bass is teaming up with Stoli Vodka this year on a number of Pride events to launch their “Spirit of Stonewall” bottle (which honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising), and he says the fact that brands are even having a conversation about Pride, is a step in the right direction. “It just shows how far we’ve come as a community, that all these companies want to work with us and support us,” he says. “The visibility is so amazing and it’s exactly what we need.”
For its part, Stoli has supported the LGBTQ community since the 90s through events and advertising, and has supported a number of different programs, including the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, which brings together LGBTQ bartenders during Key West Pride each year to raise money for charity (Bass was a guest judge this year). Stoli says it has donated more than $5 million to the LGBTQ community over the years. Says Bass, “I love brands that support our community year round instead of during just Pride Month – that speaks volumes to me.”
We’ve rounded up six collaborations to shop for Pride Month, from brands that are using their platform for good. Each of these collections partner with LGBTQ actors and artists and give back to charity, with proceeds going to support a number of prominent and worthwhile causes.
1. Teva x Tegan and Sara
Rockers Tegan and Sara have long been vocal advocates for the LGBTQ community and this year, they’re putting their names behind a new collaboration with Teva. The twin sisters are partnering with the footwear brand on a limited-edition Flatform Universal Pride sandal, with a portion of proceeds going to the Tegan and Sara Foundation (TSF).
The foundation’s goal is to fight for health, political and economic equality for young girls and women within the LGBTQ community, and Tegan and Sara say the collaboration is a “full circle” moment for them. “We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16,” they say in a release, “and this rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation. Teva’s generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth.”
Teva will donate $15 for each pair of Flatform Universal Pride sandals sold, up to a guaranteed maximum donation of $30,000, to the TSF. According to a release, the donation will fund scholarships for LGBTQ youth to attend summer camps that help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment. Purchase: $79.95 on Nordstrom.com.
2. ASOS DESIGN x GLAAD
ASOS has always been a leader in promoting gender-neutral clothing and clothing options for all sizes, ethnicities and identities. This year, its ASOS DESIGN arm has unveiled a 50-piece collection of clothing and accessories, in collaboration with GLAAD. The collection includes shirts, jackets, sweats, bags and accessories. All styles in the collection are available in expanded sizing — including plus sizes — making this a truly inclusive offering.
ASOS says it will be donating 100% of all net profits from the collection to GLAAD. ASOS is also a sponsor of LA Pride this year, and will have a float in the parade taking place on June 9. Pieces in the ASOS DESIGN x GLAAD collection start at $10. Shop online at ASOS.com.
3. Harry’s Pride Shaving Set
The popular men’s grooming company, Harry’s, has launched a “Shave With Pride” set, which includes their signature razor customized with a unique iridescent handle. The set also includes three blade cartridges and a bottle of Harry’s shave gel.
The limited-edition set comes in an art-inspired box designed by Spanish illustrator, José Antonio Roda. Harry’s says 100% of profits from the sale of this set will go to The Trevor Project, which will help the non-profit group serve more than 80,000 LGBTQ youth in crisis this year. Purchase: $24.99 on Target.com.
4. Converse Pride Collection
Don’t accuse Converse of jumping on the Pride bandwagon: The footwear brand has long been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ causes, releasing annual Pride collections, using gay and transgender models in their campaigns, and partnering with activist groups and communities around the world.
This year, proceeds from the Converse Pride Collection will support the brand’s longstanding local and global LGBTQ partners, including It Gets Better Project and OUT MetroWest. The collection includes Converse’s iconic high-top Chuck Taylor sneakers, remixed with bold lightning bolts and transgender flag-inspired colors. Prices range for $25 for a T-shirt to $80 for high-top sneakers. Shop online at Converse.com.
5. Todd Snyder #TSPride
Contemporary sportswear designer, Todd Snyder, has a particularly close relationship with Pride this year, as his eponymous New York-based company has a predominantly gay staff, many of whom remember the tumultuous years immediately following the Stonewall riots. That’s why Snyder says he wanted to do something to honor that “seminal milestone in the history of New York City.”
“As a New Yorker now with an amazing staff, over half of which are gay, I wanted to do something meaningful,” he told Women’s Wear Daily. “My team is very important to me and we support each other’s values.”
The #TSPride collection includes a series of colorful T-shirts, hoodies and sweats produced in collaboration with athletic brand, Champion. The accompanying campaign was shot by Ryan Pfluger (who’s photographed everyone from Shawn Mendes to Sam Smith) and features Pose stars Billy Porter and Dominique Jackson, along with former J.Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons, and renowned LGBTQ illustrator Richard Haines.
Snyder says 20% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation to support the Stonewall National Monument. Prices for the #TSPride collection range from $70 for a T-shirt to $168 for a hoodie. Shop online at ToddSnyder.com.
6. PRIDE x H&M
H&M has been a longtime supporting of the LGBTQ community, and they’ve tapped actress and activist Laverne Cox to front its “Stay True, Stay You” campaign for Pride. The campaign is part of H&M’s “Love For All” collection, which features a range of athleisure-inspired apparel, pool shoes and colorful accessories. H&M says 10% of each sale will be donated to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, which champions for equal rights and fair treatment of the worldwide LGBTQ community.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this campaign, celebrating an incredible community that I am so thankful and proud to be a part of,” says Cox, who is rumored to be making an appearance on the final season of Orange Is the New Black, which premieres next month on Netflix (Cox’s character, Sophia, made a memorable exit from the show in Season 6, after finally being released from prison).
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