By Ian Maloney, Hotspots Magazine of Florida
When you think of “gay clothes,” Levi’s may not be the first brand that you think about. However, the international clothing powerhouse is about to change all that this summer. Everyone has that one pair of jeans that make your butt look amazing, and a tight pair of 501’s just might do the trick. From jean shorts, T-shirts, a collector’s jacket, and collectable patches, Levis is putting their money where their mouth is and coming out for equality in a big way.
Next week, the company that literally invented blue jeans will launch their first ever Pride collection, The Levi’s x Harvey Milk Foundation collection, and they are partnering up with the Harvey Milk Foundation to help give back to the community that Milk represented and ensure his legacy lives on. Levi’s is a long-standing ally to the GLBT community, and they will commemorate the election and legacy of Milk, a gay rights hero who was assassinated in San Francisco City Hall along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978.
Harvey Milk’s election was a crucial moment in the fight for equality as he was one of the first GLBT persons elected to office (and certainly the most visible) at the time. Though Harvey Milk only served less than a year in office before his tragic assassination, his legacy is still alive in the city of San Francisco and across the world. His courage, passion, and sense of justice rocked a country and supported many communities of minorities, bringing forward a new hope and vision of freedom.
The Pride collection will feature a range of gender-neutral products and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation which was founded to empower local, regional, national, and global organizations so that they may fully realize the power of Harvey Milk’s story, style, and collaborative relationship building.
“As a brand that values authentic self-expression, there is no individual we want to honor more than Harvey Milk. Harvey was a true leader, whose passion was palpable and has expanded the decades since his untimely assassination. He brought not only the LGBTQ community forward, but he fought for the visibility of all minorities. We at Levi’s are honored to have the opportunity to express his legend through not only our product, but our voice as a global brand leader and advocate for equal human rights,” said Grant Barth, chief merchandising officer for Levi’s.
Stuart Milk, Harvey’s nephew and founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation had high praise for Levi’s. He said, “We are inspired by Levi’s global commitment to progress and to meeting the challenges of the 21st century through the celebration of human diversity from the Levi’s board room to Levi’s branded apparel. Uncle Harvey was proud to wear his Levi’s for their unmatched fit and finish, and today he would be even prouder to see his name partnered with a true champion of corporate leadership and inclusion. Companies like Levi’s understand that non-discrimination is an essential value that is good for business, not just at home, but all across the globe. Having spent years providing on-the-ground support at Pride events across the world, I say, with certainty, that this incredible clothing line created by Levi’s will inspire all and provide hope to those still yearning to be recognized in a globalized world. It is a simple message, marked by dignity and respect, that we embrace all without exception, and keep alive Uncle Harvey’s promise of equality for all people, everywhere.”
The Pride Collection includes:
Harvey Milk Ringer Tee: Celebrates Harvey Milk by featuring a Harvey Milk graphic on the front and the GLBT timeline on the back of the tee. This shirt is also available as a tank and all sizing is gender neutral.
Pride Tee: Leveraging the rainbow batwing, Levi’s offers an everyday option to showcase pride on a heather grey T-shirt.
Pride Trucker Jacket: The Pride Trucker was created to be a collector’s piece that allows the owner to add collectible patches each year to customize their jacket. The Trucker comes already patched with pride related patches as well as a rainbow L-tab. Harvey Milk Graphic featured on the back. The Pride Trucker Jacket is available for a limited run and features a slim body with sizes from XS-XXL.
Harvey Milk Short: These shorts are made from a fabric reminiscent of vintage garments; they come embroidered in stone washed style with a rainbow flag on the watch pocket. They also include Harvey Milk patches and a rainbow L-tab. Gender-neutral sizing ranges from waist 24–36. Inseam cut off at 9”
Pride Baseball Cap: A 5-panel hat with fastened back featuring Levi’s rainbow batwing embroidery.
Pride Bandana: Iconic Levi’s navy bandana with paisley print featuring Levi’s rainbow batwing embroidery.
Levi’s x Harvey Milk Patch: With the tradition of introducing a collectable patch each year, Levi’s celebrates Harvey Milk with a collectable patch for 2016.
The Levi’s x Harvey Milk Foundation Pride 2016 Collection will be available beginning mid-May 2016 online and in retail stores throughout the U.S. For more information about the Levi’s x Harvey Milk Foundation collection visit LeviStrauss.com.