The weather is changing, which means you are probably looking for some new pieces to add to your wardrobe. It’s also June, which means it's pride month, one of the most important times of the year to show our allyship to the LGBTQ+ community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see major corporations run pride campaigns and show their alliance. However, we have to be careful about which businesses to support during this time because many of these campaigns are run in vain and to exploit the deeper meaning behind this month. The best way to avoid supporting a false campaign is to not only do your research but more importantly support queer-owned businesses who aren’t faking their authenticity. Here are 7 college-budget-friendly, LGBTQ+-owned businesses that you can support during pride month, and all year for a matter of fact.
- Stuzo Clothing
Stuzo Clothing describes itself as a “gender-free clothing company designed to invoke thought and emotion.” Their pieces are meant to be non-conforming. Their products are easily accessible to UCLA students because they are based right in Los Angeles. Plus, this company is not only queer-owned but the CEO and founder is also a Black woman. Many celebrities have worn Stuzo Clothing, including Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinket Smith and Spike Lee. However, just because people of status have worn their clothes does not mean the pricing is celebrity-level. When looking at the Stuzo Clothing website, I found T-shirts were in the $30-35 dollar range while long sleeve pullovers ranged from $60-80. There were higher end pieces priced at over one hundred dollars, but there were also accessories such as hats and totes at more affordable price points. Their prices are overall comparable to a Melrose boutique or specialty thrift store.
Ready to get some new ensembles for the pool or beach or just some summer loungewear? Check out the TomBoyX website. TomXBoy is a swimwear and underwear line that was established after its co-founders wanted undergarments that matched their gender identities. The company also supports sustainability and slowing fast-fashion! My favorite pieces are their swimsuit tops. Their prices are comparable to Victoria Secret swimwear, so you aren’t breaking the bank by choosing to support this business either!
Wildfang has everything from blazers to overalls. The co-founders created the business because they believed the fashion industry was clinging to outdated gender norms and wanted pieces that were “equal parts nerve and naivety.” Of all the brands listed in this article, Wildfang is more on the expensive side with prices starting around $60 and going into the hundreds. However, these pieces are definitely timeless and will have longevity. Many of the pieces are versatile and can be worn in multiple settings from professional to casual. Therefore, I would say these purchases are worth the investment. Plus, the company is women-owned and known for supporting great causes such as feminism, sustainability and inclusion. In fact, they have donated over half a million dollars to charity, so they are definitely worth checking out!
Of all the brands on this list, Telfar is probably the most recognizable. The brand is most well known for its signature Telfar purse that comes in different sizes and bold colors. The purse is so popular, it is currently sold out and restocked every few weeks. A Telfar purse is around $150-200, which is expensive on the surface. However, compared to other major brands such as Kate Spade, Coach, and Michael Kors, a Telfar bag is actually more affordable. In addition to purses, the brand also sells hats, belts and other apparel. While Telfar has recently gained popularity after receiving the Vogue fashion fund award and being worn on stars such as Selena Gomez, the brand has been around since 2005. Telfar was founded by Telfar Clemmens who wanted to make a genderless fashion brand. He uses vegan leather in all his designs, making the company more sustainable. Telfar is a great example of hard work paying off.
- Two Minds Press
Two Minds Press sells T-shirts and totes with simple yet sweet designs. They just released a spring collection that has adorable pastels and florals. Their bags are perfect for your grocery store trips to pick up some summer fruit! The brand was founded in 2018 and all the products are meant to be themed around “emotionality, wordplay, social justice, and radical joy.”
- Makoma The Brand
Looking for stunning patterns and bold designs? Check out Makoma The Brand. Makoma the Brand's goal is to “create one-of-a-kind, contemporary designs using a combination of African prints and classic silhouettes.” Everything is ethically made and meant to represent the Africa diaspora. While their pieces can be a little pricey, it is comparable to shopping at Zara. Plus, right now they are having a summer sale, so you can get great deals on their products!
- Revel & Riot
Who doesn’t need a good T-shirt for the summer? Next time you are looking for your new graphic tee, check out Revel & Riot. This brand is actually a non-profit, and every t-shirt is meant to have a meaning or share a story. Profits go to organizations that help with social causes, such as LGBTQ+ resource centers.
These are just a handful of LGBTQ+-owned brands. There are countless fashion lines and other brands that you can support this pride month. Also, lots of queer-owned businesses create luxury wear and high-end fashion. Therefore, the higher your budget, the more options you’ll have to explore and support. Nonetheless, no matter your wallet, you can find queer-owned businesses to show your support to them not just during pride month, but always.