Commonly referred to as ‘Pride Month, Gay Pride or LBGT Pride’, the month serves as a reminder of the Stonewall riots which occurred in June of 1969 in Manhattan and the importance of human rights for people within the LBGT community. Brands have started to commercialize on the popular rainbow colour scheme that is very symbolic of the LBGT community and I wonder if every social movement for human and social rights will be capitalized on.
Over-commercialization sometimes weakens the true essence of the cause, even though it raises awareness. I wonder too, if people know about the back story on why ‘Pride Month’ is a month long? Who is Gilbert Baker? And in addition, do people think ‘Pride Month’ is just about having a parade while being decked out in eccentric colours and costumes?
Since US President Donald Trump has taken office, I have seen the words ‘Feminist’ and ‘I am Woman’ plastered on clothing too many times, especially since after the popular Women’s March. So much so that I purchased a ‘I am Woman’ t-shirt from Asos out of fear of being excluded in the movement even though I am not an active feminist fighter.
Now that ‘Pride Month’ has arrived I feel the same nudging to get something rainbow coloured even though I am not a part of the LBGT community. I suppose I want to show solidarity and appear visually to be on the right side of history. American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow who created the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which explores the level of importance different humans need, concludes that humans are motivated by fears of not achieving basic needs such as food and water. However, one of our greatest fears is not satisfying our self-esteem needs and attaining self-fulfillment.
Believe it or not, failure to achieve, gain respect from others, attain confidence and not triumphing and fighting for good causes remain on the top pillars of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. He claims it to be the most important of them all.
I suppose this is why brands are cashing in on social and politically charged fashion trends. People want to be involved in good causes and morally conscious humane movements. Social fashion allows that for those like me who choose not to be in the centre of the movement. Visually showing solidarity and spending money where proceeds are going towards a cause are convenient positions many of us choose because of ease. We can’t all be full-time activists unfortunately.
Of course there are concerns over brands that choose to piggy back. Like ASOS selling woman-power t-shirts that probably were made in a factory by marginalized women. So much for women’s power, I guess.
My pro tip before buying social and ethical fashion, is finding out who is actually getting the money. Most brands partner with charities and cause groups to donate proceeds from the sale or part proceeds. Research is key. I think if you really want to support a cause do it the right way, don’t slip into a trend like I did with my ‘I am Woman’ t-shirt because the ‘We Should all be Feminists’ t-shirt by Dior was over €500.That is another thing, socially conscious fashion should be accessible not unreachable.
My top picks for Pride Month are:
- Everlane’s ‘100% Human’ Tank US$25 – all proceeds go to Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- Tamara Mellon Pride Edition Holographic Mules $425 – Los Angeles LGBT Center. A bit of a splurge but they are shoes not a t-shirt.
- Nike Equality Tee- US$30- ‘Be True’ Campaign
- American Apparel ‘Make America Gay Again’ Tee US $28- 30% goes to support the Equality Campaign
- Levis Pride Bandana US$18- 100% of proceeds go to Harvey Milk Foundation and Stonewall Community Foundation.