The Do’s and Don’ts of Branded Pride
9 June 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters
June brings about the month of pride. What mostly used to function as a form of protest for LGBTQIA+ rights has since morphed into brands and businesses promoting rainbow themed collections. While this awareness is all well and good (and very much needed), many brands often miss the point of Pride, straying into the territory of doing more harm than good. In an age of necessary consumer transparency, if a brand wants to participate, they have to do it in the right way. Here’s a list of things to bear in mind, as well as how it all started.
What LGBTQIA+ history does fashion have?
LGBTQIA+ influence in fashion isn’t a new concept, with distinctive items of clothing necessary in the 1700s creating a secret language of safety and connection (e.g., handkerchiefs). Fast forward to the 1920s and we begin to see women breaking away from the early conventions women’s fashion held. Through the 50s and 60s, this became a widespread adoption of trousers, with giants like Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain leading the way with transgressive, genderless style. The drag ball scene of the 1980s provided one of the most distinct LGBTQIA+ fashion reference points we have in mainstream media today, offering a safe space of expression and ridicule-free experimentation with what it could mean to be someone else. On the runways, the real impact began in the 1990s. Jean Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton were some of the names pushing against the existing gender boundaries, continuing into the millennium. These collections were seen as a positive influence in the world, providing a unique perspective of understanding and education.
What does a successful pride collection look like?
These days, a pride collection can often come across as looking to make a profit, rather than year-round committal to supporting an LGBTQIA+ consumer base. There’s very little point in slapping a rainbow on something if a brand (or agent) isn’t prepared to do more. A fantastic way of achieving this is to partner with a non-profit in fundraising – even better if you can bring attention to a cause that is yet to be heard or supported by the public. This kind of support can extend to the team you bring in to create a collection itself. From designers to marketers and illustrators, what better time to highlight an LGBTQIA+’s talent than June? It’s also worth bearing in mind that there’s more to Pride than the rainbow itself. There’s a real gap in the market for non-binary clothing, while brands can use pride to highlight importance like HIV awareness and other prominent symbolic meaning. Using a campaign as a stepping-stone for education and awareness is all but vital, as well as addressing misconceptions and social issues.
What all great pride campaigns have in common is a well-rounded, considered approach that continually benefits, from education to financial support. As more corporations and big-time businesses get involved, brands need to come back to the heart of pride – what it needs to do and who it’s ultimately for.
Image source: https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/