BIPOC Voices, Fashion

Are Pride fashion collections as inclusive as they should be?

We want more than “Gay AF” T-shirts.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jul 21, 2022

This year I celebrated Pride in Mexico City, one of the largest parades in the world. I was mesmerized by the beautiful and colorful costumes that the locals and tourists wore. There was tons of glitter, angel wings, platform shoes, flower leis and crowns, and so much more. It was amazing to be in the city the week prior as well, as I saw store after store celebrate Pride with fashion and accessories that supported the culture.


In many situations, I went into stores and found out with my broken Spanish that they offer these collections throughout the year, not just during June. It got me thinking, why don’t more brands in America embrace LGBTQ+ culture the way that Mexico does? As a fashion editor especially, why don’t I notice more Pride collections throughout the year? And when I do see it, are they as inclusive as they can be?


What’s the problem?

It seems there are way more American fashion brands practicing the rainbow capitalism tactic — faking allyship for sales. Credit it to the awareness of discrimination in minority cultures taking place the last 3 years, but big corporations are finding it high time to shape up — whether they are genuine about it or not.


Pride is meant to be a time to spotlight LGBTQ+ members and create collections that actually appeal to them. Instead, we see apparel with rainbow graphics or quotes like “I’m gay and proud,” “Love to all,” or “Gay AF.” Is that really all we can do to show our support to this community that is so often silenced? Can’t we make items that are timeless instead of limited edition?


How to change

I have been doing a lot of research on how the fashion industry can implement better inclusivity into their Pride collections. Similar to what is happening in the world of diversity and inclusion, we believe big corporations should partner with LGBTQ+ community members to find out what they want in terms of year-round apparel and accessories.


It is always best to hear from the community themselves rather than guessing. It is our hope that brands are finally starting to realize that representation matters and is needed in order to get this thing right. We hope that more and more brands will realize that leaving this community out is discrimination.


These Queer books are a great place to start and educate oneself.


Photo via Christopher Ditts/Getty