Persona joven celebrando su diversidad, al igual que las marcas LGTB+

Buying LGBT+ Brands to Combat Pinkwashing

POR Sergio Jiménez

Buying LGBT+ Brands to Combat Pinkwashing

POR Sergio Jiménez
Persona joven celebrando su diversidad, al igual que las marcas LGTB+

Throughout the article, we will delve into the importance of LGBT+ brands in raising awareness about the discrimination faced by this community. Additionally, we will also learn how to identify textbook pinkwashing or rainbow-washing to avoid supporting opportunistic companies. Because if one thing has become clear, it’s that in recent years, many companies have used Pride Month as a cash grab. But do these companies really care about the community?

Most of the time, for these brands, we are just numbers, another statistic that fattens their bottom line. That’s why it’s crucial to support true LGBT+ allies throughout the year, as they are the ones who daily fight for our rights—and count me in!

Love of two lesbians girls

Before we move forward, let me delve a bit deeper into pinkwashing and related terms. We want to ensure you aren’t misled and that, if you genuinely want LGBT+ products, you go to the right brand.

What is Pinkwashing or Rainbow-washing?

Pinkwashing emerged in the 1990s when Breast Cancer Action coined the term to publicly denounce the opportunism of certain companies. These companies used a sensitive cause like the fight against breast cancer to garner higher profits. Consequently, this term came to be defined as political and marketing strategies aimed at promoting institutions, countries, individuals, products, or companies to portray them as supporters of a specific movement.

This organization decided to combine “pink,” the color used in the breast cancer movement, with “whitewash” to signify covering up or whitening. This marked a turning point in exposing such entities.

Today, many more terms have been coined to denounce opportunism in other social causes. They are collectively known as color washing, all having the same meaning but adapted to the context.

Rainbow-washing and its Relevance in Combating these Situations

The LGBT+ community, in turn, coined its term to combat these companies, calling it rainbow-washing. This is quite common during Pride Month. Do rainbow logos sound familiar to you? During this celebration, most popular brands often don these symbols to “show” their support. However, far from reality, they all gear up to sell hastily devised capsule collections to make money.

While at first glance, this practice may seem confined to companies, it is not. Some countries, like Israel, have been accused of taking advantage of the LGBT+ community for geopolitical purposes. Behind the facade of being a gay-friendly country lies a clear motivation to induce hatred towards the Palestinian and Islamic populations.

Boy of LGBT+ Brand

However, this sporadic interest in the LGBT+ community barely has a positive impact on them. Only during the month of June does it seem like our issues matter, that we exist.

But it’s our mission as smart consumers to put an end to this practice. If you notice that a brand hasn’t shown any signs or pro-LGBT messages throughout the rest of the year, steer clear. Queerbaiting, as this reaction is known, is what we all should do to send a clear message. We are not disposable products or a business. Let’s support LGBT+ brands to put a stop to these practices!

LGBT+ Brands that Continue the Fight Beyond June

Fortunately, over the last decade, the world of inclusive fashion has brought us some good news. Some members of the LGBT+ community have made a strong statement to emphasize that our fight is ongoing. LGBT+ brands like HOSOI, NRD, or Serguei have been founded by queer individuals for the community.

HOSOI – Urban fashion that transcends gender

This fashion brand was founded by Israel Cascón, its creative director and a prominent figure in activism. From the beginning, he sought to make fashion an amplifier to denounce LGBT discrimination. HOSOI aims to showcase individual personality and gender expression through its fashion collections. Because one common thread among all LGBT+ brands is that fashion should have no gender or limitations.

Boy naked with clothing of Hosoi
Jade’s Collection. Hosoi

Likewise, as stated in an interview with Cosmopolitan, “Our image serves to tell others our story and how we are evolving as a society. We don’t want gray stories; we want lives with unique personalities.” It is at this point that all LGBT+ brands become that mirror of reality. A mirror that allows all queer individuals to flaunt garments normatively opposed to their gender with all the power that comes with it. Because no matter how many essays and studies are conducted on heteronormativity and its harmful nature, fashion will always be a more effective means of visibility.

NRD – The brand that shattered the mold of heteronormativity

NRD unexpectedly entered a fight to break away from the current system. Its two founders, Sol Mirabella Nasif and Jon Gómez de la Peña, created it as an alternative to dressing in a serious, inhibited, and conventional manner. They decided that all bodies needed to be equally respected in fashion, without distinctions or restrictions.

A NRD's Collection, a LGBT+ brand
3.0 NRD’s Collection. NRD

This has led them to play with fabrics such as velvet, lycra, or bedsheet textiles to create limited edition capsule collections. Starting from scratch, without reusing patterns, and infusing a clear anime style, something that our dear Young Miko would surely love.

Today, they are another one of the many LGBT+ brands opening their doors to the community to create a self-expression far from the most common garments.

Serguei – The LGBT+ brand where all colors converge

While still in full development today, Serguei has a very clear goal in the world of fashion. They aim to create an LGBT+ brand that designs clothing for the community as well as for all kinds of people. We want queer individuals not to have to resort to traditional fashion brands or unsustainable stores to shape their gender expression.

Perhaps we all know someone who shops in the opposite gender’s section because they can’t find what they like in their own. It might be you, or why not, even me. And mind you, I’m only talking about binary people.

Although, it must be said, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem because we understand fashion as something without gender. Nevertheless, having an exclusive brand that designs clothes tailored to your body and your way of expressing yourself will always be more satisfying than feeling lost in an unfamiliar section.

Serguei aims to innovate and offer the community more than just clothes without meaning. As an LGBT+ brand, we want to create works of art that empower members of the community. And no, we haven’t forgotten anyone. We have a significant challenge ahead to ensure that both transgender and non-binary individuals also identify with our mission. This is just the beginning, and we hope that if the concept is successful, we can represent many more people.

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