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Covid-19 may have cancelled parades and parties in 2020, but Pride Month, as a summer-long celebration of diversity, acceptance and love, will continue on this year—though not without controversy. Within the past few years, several brands have launched “Pride-themed” collaborations and merchandise. But how relevant is Pride merch in a year that found us all struggling to celebrate?
Brands working with the LGBTQ community isn’t new: H&M has been a longtime collaborator with LGBTQ actors and activists, and their “Beyond the rainbow” initiative will donate funds to the UN Free & Equal campaign, a global fight for equality led by United Nations Human Rights. Still, some LGBTQ leaders have accused brands of pushing “pinkwashed” products—essentially using Pride as a marketing tool and profiting off the community without giving anything back. This is especially unsavory after a year that hit the community especially hard, financially-speaking.
In previous years, we’ve seen the release of everything from sneakers to that infamous mouthwash with Pride-themed packaging and, well, not much else. Is a recognizable color palette enough to convince the LGBTQ community — and everyone else for that matter — to open up their wallets to shop after a long year of the pandemic?
According to Girls5Eva and Black Monday actor Andrew Rannells, he hasn’t done a Pride collaboration in the past, but the catalyst this year was finding the right brand with the right social agenda. “It’s not just about the partnership, or the promotion. It also sends a strong message about charity as well.”
Rannells is teaming up with Ketel One Vodka this year for Pride to launch their “Makers of Marvelous” program, which will donate $50,000 to the organization Another Round Another Rally. He says the fact that Pride has become a whole month of events and collaborations (as opposed to just a week), seems like progress is being made.
“They [Ketel One] showed a real commitment to two specific charities: one of which was Another Round, Another Rally which is helping folks in the hospitality industry who have been furloughed or fully lost their jobs past year. And the other was GLAAD. The fact that they came to me with those two things, and it wasn’t just another partnership—I was really excited by that.”
He says our Pride might look a little different than in past years, and that’s okay. “I don’t know if I’m personally in the headspace just yet to welcome the big Pride parades, or the big parties and all of that.” But he adds that it’s more about getting out and connecting with the people you haven’t seen in a year, and supporting local businesses—as long as we’re doing it safely.
According to YouGov, a quarter of Americans say that they’re more likely to shop from LGBTQ-friendly brands, and over 80% are likely to try new products from brands who actively support LGBTQ communities as opposed to ones that don’t. Authenticity is clearly key here, and despite the financial hit that retail has taken in the past year, we’re seeing more and more brands put their money where their mouth is, choosing to donate to worthy causes.
We’ve rounded up eight collaborations to shop for Pride Month, from brands that are using their platform for good. Each of these collections either partner with LGBTQ actors and artists, give back to charity, or have a portion of proceeds go to support a number of prominent and worthwhile causes.
1. UGG x Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X teamed up with UGG and the Pacific Pride Foundation for their #UGGPride Campaign this year, appearing as one of the featured hosts of this year’s Pacific Pride “PROUD Prom,” a virtual event with local LGBTQ+ and allied youth from Santa Barbara and the coastal communities of California.
Along with the ‘PROUD Prom’ (which was sponsored by UGG), the company is also releasing a limited-edition collection of all-gender footwear and apparel in Pride-inspired colors, such as the cozy, rainbow-patterned Disco Stripes Slide (see below). The rapper says it was only recently that he fell in love with the art of fashion, and teaming up with UGG was the natural progression of both his career, and his identity. Having previously spoken about the struggles of coming out in the music industry, being an ambassador for Pride with this campaign now feels “pretty great” he told Rolling Stone.
For each pair of Disco Stripe slides sold, the brand will donate $25 to GLAAD, up to a maximum guaranteed donation of $125,000.
2. Coach Pride
Coach isn’t just slapping a rainbow on some luxury purses: The fashion brand has long been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ causes, releasing annual Pride collections, partnering with nonprofits and donating to community funds around the world through the Coach Foundation.
This year, the Coach Foundation will make donations to the brand’s longstanding LGBTQ partners, including the Albert Kennedy Trust, Point Foundation and CenterLink to support their work connecting young LGBTQ folks with supportive communities. The collection includes Coach’s iconic canvas bags, sneakers, and slides remixing their with classic logo with pride flag-inspired colors. Prices range for $55 for a hangtag to $495 for a quilted duffle bag.
Coach has also launched a “Dream it Real” section on their site, having worked with Dream It Real nonprofit partner the Hetrick-Martin Institute on a film about how several young people find Pride in their daily lives. See the stories here.
The popular men’s grooming company, Harry’s, has brought back their popular “Shave With Pride” set this year, which includes a bold razor customized with a unique iridescent handle. The set also includes three blade cartridges, a travel blade cover, and a bottle of Harry’s foaming shave gel.
The limited-edition set comes in an art-inspired box, this year designed by artist Zipeng Zhu. As with every year, Harry’s says 100% of profits from the sale of this set will go to The Trevor Project, which will help the nonprofit group serve more than 80,000 LGBTQ youth in crisis this year.
4. Nordstrom BP. x Wildfang
Besides Nordstrom taking the lead with their “Be Proud by BP.” line, this year, they’ve collaborated with queer-owned fashion brand Wildfang to release a collection of gender-neutral clothing aiming to dismantle gender and societal norms in fashion. The collection includes shirts, jackets, rompers, shorts and accessories. All styles in the collection are available in expanded sizing — sizes XS-4X — making this a truly inclusive offering.
Nordstrom says they will give 10% of Be Proud by BP. net sales to the nonprofit Trans Lifeline. They will also provide a grant to Trans Lifeline x FOLX Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Care Fund to support transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals in honor of Pride Month. Pieces in the BP. x Wildfang collection start at $7.
This is one of the first years that shopDisney has had an extensive Pride collection, but we can see that they’ve stepped up their offerings. There’s colorful rainbow-colored and pride flag-inspired shirts, face masks, mini backpacks, and even a pair of iconic mouse ears decked in rainbow if you decide to visit one of the Disney parks this June. A couple pieces even cross franchises too, with some eye-catching Pride merch for Marvel and Star Wars fans now available.
In recognition of Pride Month, The Walt Disney Company is also donating funds to organizations that support LGBTQ+ communities, including GLSEN and It Gets Better Project, as well as nonprofits from around the world like ARELAS and Nijiiro Diversity. Prices in their Pride collection start at $7, and include collectible pins and other mouse-themed accessories.
6. SKYY Vodka x Kim Petras, Symone and Alok Vaid-Menon
With various campaigns and partnerships leading back all the way to its founding in 1992, SKYY Vodka has shown that they’re willing to go above and beyond corporate allyship. Their Coming Out (Again) campaign this year features three voices at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ movement: popstar Kim Petras, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Winner Symone, and writer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon.
As the country slowly emerges from lockdown, this campaign calls for support of the LGBTQ+ hospitality industry, including venues and performers hit hard by Covid-19. “Pride is more than a parade or a party. It’s the stories of acceptance, chosen family, a celebration of individuality, a fight for equality, and so much more,” says Symone in a release. “Nightlife has long been at the core of the LGBTQ+ community, be it a place to freely express yourself or a means to financially support yourself. Now is the time to step up and help these venues, and the people who work and perform in them, get back on their feet.”
SKYY has also partnered with NYC Pride to launch the SKYY Nightlife Fund, under the NYC Pride Gives Back program. SKYY will make a starting donation of $25,000, dedicated to LGBTQ+ nightlife workers and performers facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. So pick up some vodka and come out (safely) to support the community when you can.
7. SodaStream x Laverne Cox
If you’re looking for some non-alcoholic bubbly to celebrate the festivities this June, SodaStream has tapped actress and activist Laverne Cox to front their “Rainbow Story” campaign for Pride. The campaign includes an animated film of the same title, which portrays Cox as a superhero, taking viewers through key moments in her life – closing with a message encouraging people to proudly share their own rainbow story.
To accompany the campaign, SodaStream is launching a ‘Rainbow Story’ limited-edition sparkling water maker kit. The kit comes with a Fizzi machine in a sleek matte black design, a 1L carbonating bottle with carrying loop, carbonating cylinder, and a pack of six permanent rainbow markers, so you can personalize your own sparkling water maker.
Sodastream says that a portion of proceeds will be donated to ILGA World, a global LGBTQ NGO.
While there are a number of brands toting gender-neutral fashion lines this summer, the Levi’s Pride collection celebrates the spectrum of identities in the LGBTQ community. Their latest line of tees, denim and accessories are designed to be worn by anyone, but feature pronouns across the pieces as a call to respect everyone’s lived experiences.
Levi’s says that 100 percent of the net proceeds from the collection will go to OutRight Action International, a nonprofit working year-round to defend and advance human rights for LGBTQ people around the globe. For this year’s collection, the brand also photographed the fashion line on members of our LGBTQ community in California’s Bay Area.
Besides the range of colorful, modern fits, you can also customize your Pride gear online on Levi’s website.
JanSport doesn’t have a dedicated Pride collection this year, but they’re still donating to a worthy cause—this month, they’re giving $1 for every product sold in June on their website to The Trevor Project, which helps support LGBTQ young adults and teens.
A minimum donation of $10,000 will be given for the sale of their bags, accessories, and backpacks, including this colorful tie-dye Superbreak Plus pack. As functional as they are funky, you can take these bags to work, on day trips, or even to your next in-person Pride parade. But JanSport shows that you don’t need to cover your merch in rainbows to support the community.
10. Lord Jones
While donating to larger organizations is still good, we like to see that some brands are focusing on more grassroots and local advocacy groups. Lord Jones has released a limited-edition Pride Bundle, and 50 percent of profits from each bundle will be donated to West-Hollywood based LA Pride.
This is targeted towards LA Pride’s efforts to launch PLATform—a policy and leadership training program to support and educate transgender and non-binary communities of color on how to engage in activism and policy reform. The bundle features a soft crewneck sweatshirt embroidered with their Pride-inspired logo, along with a small batch box of Lord Jones’ hemp-derived CBD Gumdrops (20mg each). Only 300 bundles are available, so be sure to check it out before Pride Month ends.
11. Saks OFF 5TH x Phluid Project
This Pride month has been a big win for inclusive fashion lines, and Saks OFF 5TH is no different. This month, the retailer is making sure everyone feels represented this month, offering an exclusive line of genderfluid apparel and accessories, marking it Saks OFF 5TH’s first gender-inclusive fashion collection.
Saks will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to The Phluid Phoundation, the non-profit run by the Phluid Project, a gender-inclusive fashion brand based in NYC. The foundation works with a variety of on grassroots partners to help support marginalized and vulnerable populations within the LGBTQ community—such as homeless LGBTQ youth, and transgender women of color. Prices for the collection start at $14.99, and includes colorful footwear, beauty, accessories and more.
We also love to see brands that not only put their money where their mouth is, but support the work of LGBTQ artists. Casetify’s Pride Collection features designs from some LGBTQ artists like Style by Deni, an Australian fashion editor and activist how works to normalize conversations surrounding gender identity, and Kate Moross who uses their platform to uplift the voices of other LGBTQ creatives.
Casetify is partnering with the Ali Forney Center, with 100% of their Pride case going to the organization to support LGBTQ youth. The cases all have unique designs (including designs with pronouns, and rainbow-inspired art), but come with an all-new rainbow camera ring.
No matter how you celebrate Pride this year, whether at a bar or just with close friends, chances are at one point or another you’re still going to need a mask. Caraa, who has some of our favorite comfortable face masks, has launched a limited-edition version of their best-selling face coverings for Pride.
They’re also donating 10% of the proceeds from their Caraa Pride masks to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the philanthropic arm of Broadway. This organization has fought for decades to ensure life-saving medication, healthy meals, and emergency support for those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS, life-threatening illnesses, and now Covid-19. The sets come in two assorted colorways, Woodsy and Marin, and each set comes with 4 masks.
14. Ralph Lauren
High-fashion tends to keep their designs subtle for Pride month, but sometimes less is more. Ralph Lauren’s Polo Pride collection is decidedly gender-neutral, and features clothing, fragrances, and even eyewear.
The retailer is splitting up their donations in a couple different ways this year—100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of each Polo shirt, and 25 percent from all other items in their collection will be donated to Stonewall Community Foundation. Stonewall Community Foundation supports the most at-risk members of the LGBTQ community, including communities of color and transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people.
Additionally, Ralph Lauren Fragrances will offer limited-edition Pride packaging on select fragrances that include a supplemental donation to the Stonewall Community Foundation.