India isn’t very crazy out there with their campaigns for Pride Month or June. But America says otherwise. A casual walk down any commercial street results in the possibility of being blinded by rainbows. Depending on who you ask, this rainbow could mean the encouraging sign of progress or just annoying corporate business, or even better both.
I mean seriously, we’ve seen some borderline crazy, or as I like to say, wonky products come out. Levi’s Jeans? Got a rainbow on it. Make-up? rainbow-ed. Mouthwash? RAINBOW.
But then we began wondering, where do these gay pride products go after June?
We know that inventory = money in the business world. So all the thousands or more products that are made for Pride Month have to go somewhere, right?
A common way to get rid of the extra merch and make way for the 4th of July is by giving out discounts. However, only 14.3 per cent of products in Pride Month was marked down as of July 1. The average being discount being 37 per cent, according to the retail analytics firm Edited.
There are others like Nike, who genuinely don’t even have to try. “Be True” collection (which this year took its inspiration from the original rainbow flag in 1978 by the political activist Gilbert Baker) is already mostly sold out.
Target says they will donate their leftover merchandise to a third-party organization. However, the company didn’t disclose the said organization. Bud Light’s rainbow GLAAD bottles will be on sale until bars and retailers run out. The company says they have sold more than 500,000 bottles. They also have $1 donation per case sold and expect to give upward of $150,000 to GLAAD.
American Apparel’s “Everyone’s Gay” shirts, Bombas’s rainbow socks, Stoli’s “Spirit of Stonewall” bottle, Toms’ “Unity” slip-ons, Asos’s GLAAD collaboration, and Lucky Brand’s “Lucky x Love” tees will all be available until they sell out, the brands say. Asos even has some of the rainbow ampersand tees from last year’s collection still in stock.
On the other hand, Superbowl’s team merch retailer Fanatics carries hundreds of rainbow tees branded with logos from the NFL, MLB, WNBA, and others, they’re manufactured on demand and available year-round.
After a ton of searching, we found that Happy Socks has “Pride Socks” as a permanent collection. They also sell themed gift boxes every year but those tend to sell out.
What makes it better, they are in partnership with gender-neutral store the Phluid Project on two pairs of socks. One of these says “Feet Have No Gender” which we think is absolutely cute. The sale of each of this has 10 per cent donations to the Stonewall Community Foundation. The Phluid Project is one of many queer-owned independent businesses —including Otherwild, Wildfang, and Dfrntpigeon — that sells merchandise celebrating (and giving back to) the community year round.
”We regularly donate product to LGBTQ-focused youth organizations and are continuously seeking out opportunities to partner with local groups to better support LGBTQ efforts on an ongoing basis,” a spokesperson for Happy Socks tells Vox.
But what about the rest? Sure, only a few labels are lucky enough to hype up their products like Nike and Happy Socks, but where’s the rest? If they don’t sell, are they donated?
Or worse, are they destroyed? We know a couple of companies who are known for burning, shredding or slashing their extra merch. Some of these include Burberry, Nike, Urban Outfitters, Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret. Recently, Burberry ended their practice due to public outcry. Does that apply to our rainbow merch too?