Stick a rainbow flag on it and and you’ve got yourself some Pride merchandise, right? Wrong. So wrong, Mr. Retailer—this is not Valentine’s Day or National Whatever-the-Next-Random-Thing-Is-to-Have-a -National-Day Day. We’re wary of brands and companies that simply see Pride as an opportunity to help pad some big cheese’s bank account, so today we’re uncovering the brands producing stylish products with actual charity initiatives in tow.
Sidenote: A friend of mine who works in the charity sector recently informed me that the best way to support any cause is by throwing all your efforts into one concentrated place for as long as you can. In addition, it’s important to be fully clued up on the good work your chosen charity is doing; you can check them out on The Charity Commission (as per government standards, any official organisation over a certain size needs to be registered here).
Whatever your orientation, showing love for the LGBTQ+ community is not something that begins and ends in July. We encourage you to call out transphobic and homophobic bullying whenever you see it, and to be an advocate for the young people in your life. And if you’re going to buy any form of Pride merchandise, make sure it comes from a brand that’s committed to bettering the future of the LGBTQ+ community.
Weekday’s weekly Zeitgeist slogan T-shirts are often politically charged. The Rainbow Collection in particular celebrates the LGBTQ+ community by taking inspiration from the work of Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), the American gay rights activist and designer of the rainbow flag. The limited-edition collection consists of organic unisex T-shirts with the corresponding flag word printed on the chest.
In addition to the collection, Weekday will work with eight individuals who will reflect on the flag and its symbolic colours and meaning: pink (sex), red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), turquoise (art), indigo (harmony) and violet (spirit) in short campaign videos. The videos, which will be shared on social media (@weekday_stores), aim to encourage others to raise their voice to honour LBGTQ+ pride, diversity and creativity.
Weekday will also host store events throughout the summer in conjunction with corresponding pride parades, where guests will be able to craft their own flags. For each flag, Weekday will donate 10€ to UN Free & Equal campaign, promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.
House of Holland celebrates Pride with the launch of a new collection of made-to-order tailoring—a jacket of which has already been worn (as a dress, of course) by Lady Gaga at NYC Pride. The two-piece suits are available online in the colours of the rainbow flag. Twenty-five percent of the revenue generated will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust, an LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity focused on supporting young people living in hostile environments after coming out.
LFW shining star Charles Jeffrey has teamed up with Topshop to spread his message of diversity and acceptance—sentiments which run through his envelope-pushing collections. The aim is for 30% of the proceeds from these T-shirts (which feature art from five young LGBTQ+ artists in the designer’s creative community) to be donated to Diversity Role Models, a charity working to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools. This pink version (featuring art from Ryan Driscoll’s Venus) is my personal favourite. The collection is available online as well as six major Topshop and Topman stores across the UK, including Glasgow, Charles Jeffrey’s hometown.
This Pride Month, ASOS Design (the retailer’s more directional offshoot) has partnered with GLAAD, an organisation helping to rewrite the script for LGBTQ+ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. For every hat sold, 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the project. Check out the whole collaboration (which features unisex pieces and plus-size options) here.
The 2018 Converse Pride Collection, designed by Happy Hippie founder Miley Cyrus, celebrates those who advocate for a tomorrow where youth are free to be their true authentic selves, and net proceeds will support the It Gets Better Project. Who wouldn’t enjoy wearing a pair of rainbow polka-dotted high tops?
Innovative American eyewear brand Warby Parker has just launched a rainbow-coloured collection to commemorate and recognise the impact LGBTQ+ people have had throughout history, and the label is showing support by giving back to the community, making special donations to both The Trevor Project and Lambda Legal. The sunglasses start at £72, and in addition to their above commitment, it’s important to know about Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair initiative—a project that has seen over four million pairs of glasses distributed across the world to those who need them most.
There are so many Pride tees out there on offer, but I’m intrigued by Égalitee’s wares: This startup brand was launched by DJ Ashley James as a unisex collection advocating feminism and empowerment, as well as ensuring each of these jerseys is ethically produced. For this particular tee (which also comes in white), 50% of the profits will be donated to the Switchboard, one of the UK’s longest-running volunteer-led charities serving the LGBTQ+ community. ■