How important is it to shop consciously and support brands that give back?
Earlier this year, there was a big push to support Black-owned businesses. Article after article listed them and influencer after influencer showcased their favorite products from underrepresented brands. It was very needed—even for me, a Black man. Never in my life did I think to shop for products made for me by people that look like me. Shocking, right?
Well, that social moment opened my eyes, along with EVERYONE ELSE. I’d find something I loved, then voilà, it was sold out—from body butters to brown-colored bandages. People were going hard for the once not-so well-known. But when summer left and fall arrived, there was a shift. The conversation slowed and the visibility diminished. And that’s something we can’t let happen.
Since this is the time for giving, let’s build that momentum back up, go beyond social media and make a difference while spending. With the loss of jobs and closures of small businesses due to COVID-19, now’s the time to put your money to work. I’ve done a little research to find Black-owned queer fashion brands that give back to the community. It’s the perfect three-piece combo. You can support underrepresented brands, help those in need, and be the best gift-giver ever. Take a look below.
Formally known as Werk Those Pecs and Trans is Beautiful Apparel, Bye Gender is an organization that focuses on providing funding to trans people in need, including confirmation surgery and living expenses. The purchases you make from their clothing line will directly help raise money for their efforts.
One of my favorites is the Racerback Tank.
Image via Bye Gender
Empowering the queer community is what A Tribe Called Queer is all about—whether that’s through important messages on t-shirts or donating money. “I feel we all have a duty as human beings to give back to our community. Everyone has the ability to help someone in some way,” says owner Sabine Maxine. “It’s very important to me to prioritize uplifting my community.”
Maxine has donated portions of proceeds from her clothing line to Black Lives Matter and Project Q. Currently, A Tribe Called Queer is selling The First Pride Was A Riot Pin and 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Emergency Release Fund.
Image via A Tribe Called Queer
Along with the pin, you should grab the Black is Beautiful t-shirt and the Black Femme Power framed poster. Make a statement in and outside of your home.
K.NGSLEY was born out of activism and exists to serve the Black, Queer, Trans and Femme community. Not only is it the clothing brand’s mission to define and take back the femme body, it’s also a tool used to provide resources for the underserved—outside of fashion.
Image via K.NGSLEY
The first collection from the brand was released in September. Every piece is a monochromatic dream. My favorites are the Olive “Race Her” Ribbed Halter tank and the White “FIST” Ribbed tank.
ProjectQ is a nonprofit that provides free gender-affirming haircuts, self-empowering workshops, clothing, chest binders, menstrual products, and more to LGBTQIA+ homeless youth. The organization also sells hair care products and merch to help fund their efforts. Stay cozy with this ProjectQ Hoodie or keep those curls moisturized with the Qurl Cream.
Image via ProjectQ
Established in 2005 by Telfar Clemens, Telfar is a unisex fashion brand that has previously donated portions of its proceeds to bail hundreds of youth off of Rikers Island, in New York City. From t-shirts to bags, Telfar has become an affordable, iconic fashion staple. We’d suggest getting one of their legendary bags, but (not surprisingly) they’re sold out. Check out the dark olive Logo Embossed Hat, off black Dance T-Shirt, or brown Monogram Print Durag instead.
Yves Mathieu in the Monogram Print Durag. Image via Telfar Instagram
Written by Darren Bridges
Feature image via ProjectQ