Now this is how companies should celebrate Pride.
Instead of the typical rainbow tie-in product to celebrate the season, this year, popular skateboarding shoe and clothing brand Vans is highlighting four talented queer creatives.
The project showcases four queer artists, each doing their own unique thing and expressing who they are through their art. Vans hopes that by doing this, they’ll help lift up these artists, acknowledge the contributions LGBTQ+ creatives make in the world, and inspire others to reach for their dreams.
The creatives included are Tyris Winter, "a multifaceted artist who blurs the lines between poetry, fashion, and dancing," and Serena Isioma, a 20-year-old, first-generation, Nigerian-American artist who combines alternative, indie, hip-hop, and R&B to create their own unique sound.
Also included are Mich Miller, an LA-based painter, printmaker, muralist, and installation artist whose "practice is informed by a commitment to abstraction and investment in printmaking, painting, design, queer histories, and queer theory," and skateboarder, photographer, and creative director Sam McGuire, who has been shooting for skateboard magazines and brands across the world for over a decade.
Vans released a special video highlighting all four of the artists.
But that’s not all. Vans has also donated a total of $200,000 to four global organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community around the world. The organizations are GLSEN, which works to make schools a safer space for LGBTQ+ students, Casa 1, who provides safe shelter and access to culture, education, and health resources for LGBTQ+ individuals, Where Love Is Illegal, an organization that shares stories of connection and survival in the queer community, and Tokyo Rainbow Pride, which builds awareness and policy change so that all genders, races, and beliefs can be equal.
Honestly, this is something we want to see a lot more of. There’s no product for the company to profit off of, there’s no lazy attempt at slapping a rainbow onto a product they already have. There’s just a donation to LGBTQ+ orgs and a spotlight for four talented queer creators.
In an age when multi-billion dollar companies battle to see who can make the best rainbow shoe or the brightest burger wrapper, we want to see more do things like this. Pride is really about supporting and celebrating queer people, and this is a much better way to do that than profiting off a shirt that says "Ally" in rainbow letters.
Thank you, Vans, for showing other companies how to do it!