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Pride Month is here, and with it comes the annual onslaught of brands hoping to capitalize on the purchasing power of the LGBTQ community. While some brands have been long-time allies, with products and causes aligned with the movement for equal rights and representation, others seem content to slap a rainbow on a product and call it a gay (this year’s batch of dubious merch includes everything from Pride-themed vibrators, to rainbow-striped Crocs).
For Kim Petras, who’s partnering with SKYY Vodka to promote its “virtual Pride” celebrations, the question of what brands to support depends on their motivation — and their messaging.
“I partnered with SKYY because they have been a longtime supporter and official partner of Pride for many years,” Petras says, citing SKYY’s sponsorship of last year’s World Pride, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. “Unlike many brands, they’ve also been actively campaigning for anti-discrimination legislation designed to protect transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, which is something very important to me,” she adds. “SKYY has been supporting the community since they were founded.”
As part of its “virtual Pride” activations, SKYY has tapped Petras, trans model Teddy Quinlivan, and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Violet Chachki and Heidi N Closet to help give back to queer communities that have been affected by COVID-19, including providing support to LGBTQ+ bars that were forced to close as a result of the quarantine. With many states still promoting social distancing guidelines, Pride celebrations may look a little different this year, but Petras says it’s not about how you celebrate, but rather what you’re doing to contribute to the cause.
“Pride is more than just a parade [and] it’s more important than ever to show up in any way you can this year and make sure all celebrations — in whatever form they take — are intersectional,” she says, noting that many Pride events have shifted their focus to align with the protests happening across the country. “Pride is a place to celebrate and feel free, but it is also a time to reflect on those that came before us and realize that there is still a long way to go – especially for the Black queer community and queer people of color. Violence against the Black trans community in particular is still so prevalent,” she continues, “and there’s still so much that needs to be done.”
Even if you’re skipping Pride events in favor of a “virtual celebration” this year, there are still a number of ways you can mark the occasion and give back to the community. Start by scrolling through this list of nine charitable LGBTQ collaborations you can shop from home. These Pride-themed collections are all from brands that are long-time allies of the queer community, with proceeds from the merch and accessories going to support queer advocacy, awareness and empowerment programs.
1. Todd Snyder “The Art of Pride” Collection
New York menswear designer Todd Snyder has always been a champion of gay rights and the LGBTQ community, and his latest collection, dubbed “The Art of Pride,” features a series of limited-edition sweatshirts and tees with original artwork by ten leading LGBTQ+ artists including Richard Haines, Doron Langberg, Johanna Toruno and Devan Shimoyama. The company says 25% of proceeds will be donated to support charities of the artists’ choosing, including VISUAL AIDS, Out Youth and GMHC.
In addition to the sweats and tees, the Art of Pride Collection includes a new exclusive Pride Watch – a collaboration between Timex and Todd Snyder.
The limited-edition apparel will launch in late June with tees retailing for $98, crewneck sweatshirts for $198 and hoodies for $228. The Todd Snyder x Timex Pride Watch will launch on June 16th and retail for $199.
2. Nike BeTrue Collection
Nike introduces its “BeTrue” collection this year, which is all about self-expression and movement. Nike has re-designed many of its most popular sneakers, like the Nike Air Force 1, the Nike Air Max 2090 and the Nike Air Deschutz sandal, with colors inspired by the More Color, More Pride flag introduced in Philadelphia in 2017.
In addition to footwear, the collection also includes T-shirts, hoodies and shorts, available in unisex styling and sizing.
Nike says it is supporting more than 20 organizations advancing the LGBTQIA+ community. The organizations range from local to national, with a focus on advocacy in sports, creating safe spaces and elevating the history of the community.
3. Sperry Pride Collection
Sperry’s classic boat shoes and slip-on sneakers get the Pride treatment, with subtle striping on the sides and a bolder rainbow print on the soles. A portion of proceeds will go to the Boston Pride Community Fund, which distributes donations across various LGBTQ+ organizations.
4. Smith & Sinclair “Love Box” Alcoholic Cocktail Gummies
Smith & Sinclair is known for their alcoholic gummies, and their Pride-themed “Love Box” features flavors like passion fruit mojito and mandarin spritz. Each gummy is individually-wrapped. Smith & Sinclair says 15% of net sales from every box sold will go to It Gets Better, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and connecting LGBTQ youth.
5. Brooks “Run Proud” Collection
Brooks Running has launched its “Run Proud” collection, in partnership with Front Runners, an LGBTQ+ running and walking club.
To celebrate the partnership, Brooks has released a new Run Proud tee and tank top, designed with sections of a rainbow track. The collection also includes matching accessories, like a rainbow running cap and striped crew socks.
Last year, Brooks awarded grants to five Front Runners chapters in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Atlanta, and West Palm Beach and this year, they will be awarding an additional four grants to be used by local chapters for philanthropy, sponsoring a Pride run/walk or expanding their imprint.
6. Nordstrom BP. Be Proud
“BP. Be Proud by Nordstrom Made” is the first gender-inclusive collection from Nordstrom and it launched last week in conjunction with Pride.
The collection is meant to embody a range of personal styles, body types and silhouettes. There are 28 pieces in all, with apparel and accessories ranging from $7 to $75.
Nordstrom says it engaged members from the LGBTQIA community to provide insight on what they see as missing from the current apparel landscape and worked with them to ensure fit and styling was reflective of what they’d like to see in this collection.
Nordstrom will donate 10% of sales from the Be Proud collection to True Colors United, a nonprofit organization that implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.
7. Happy Socks
For the second year in a row, Happy Socks and The Phluid Project have teamed up on a collaboration for Pride, with 10% of net sales being donated to The Trevor Project. The campaign slogan: “Always walk with pride.”
The collection includes six unisex sock designs, including tie-dye prints, graffiti-inspired patterns and more. All socks are available as singles ($16), while two come in an iridescent gift box ($28).
8. ASOS x GLAAD
ASOS is teaming up with GLAAD for the fourth year in a row on a Pride collaboration for Pride inspired by a message of unity. ASOS says 100% of net sales from the gender-neutral collection will be donated to GLAAD, which has been an essential voice and advocate for the LGBTQ community for 35 years.
The collection includes T-shirts, sweats, pants and accessories. Sizing is available from XS – 4XL and pricing ranges from $29 to $69.
9. Converse Pride Collection
Like Nike, Converse’s 2020 Pride collection is inspired by the “More Color, More Pride” flag that was first concepted and popularized by social justice advocate Amber Hikes in 2017. Converse says the collection “aims to celebrate the power of diversity and inclusion to connect us all, because no matter the circumstance, Pride never stops.”
The collection features the brand’s classic Chuck 70s and Chuck Taylor All Stars re-worked with the “More Color, More Pride” flag, which expands the rainbow colors to include a brown and black stripe, representing the Latinx and Black LGBTQIA+ community, respectively.
Converse has pledged to support the It Gets Better Project, Ali Forney Center, BAGLY and OUT MetroWest with a portion of proceeds from its Pride collection.