As parades and events are held all over the world for Pride Month, rainbow flags and fashion emerge as signs of solidarity and celebration. No matter how you identify, the rainbow makes a fearless and definitive statement that queer communities deserve equal rights and the right to be themselves, free from discrimination and bigotry. And while Pride Month may technically last for the thirty days of June, there’s no reason why you can’t show support all year long and wear the rainbow on a daily basis.
The rainbow flag had its beginnings in 1978, when queer activist Harvey Milk commissioned San Francisco-based artist Gilbert Baker to design a visual beacon of hope, empowerment and pride for the LGTBQ community. The original version comprised eight colors, all with various meanings, representing everything from life and spirit to healing and harmony. The six-stripe rainbow flag eventually became the norm, and its influence has extended beyond the United States and become a globally recognized icon.
“The different colored stripes of the Pride flag represent inclusivity of all diversities,” notes Graham Wetzbarger, our Chief Authenticator. “Beyond that, though, I believe bright, saturated tones reflect the energy of the LGTBQ community — we’re loud, we’re proud and no matter what you throw at us, our true colors are going to shine through and we will persevere.”
There’s no wrong way to embrace color in your everyday wardrobe, but if you’re not sure where to start, let a single statement piece do the talking. “I personally like to balance out bright colors with white, black or neutral tones,” says Lex Valle, Authentication and Brand Compliance Lead. “A rainbow sweater like Alberta Ferretti’s would pair nicely with light denim and all-white sneakers, and on a hot day, it would look great wrapped around your shoulders over a white T-shirt. Any rainbow piece should be the main focus, and denim is a great way to make a statement without any colors clashing.”
Need a Pride look that will last past the weekend? Go for the Gucci. “I’d definitely wear these Gucci platform sneakers with shorts, a tank top and a bold pair of sunnies,” adds Valle. “And maybe even with a visor or Burberry’s rainbow-accented Nova check cap! These pieces are so fun. Perfect for summer and beyond.”
If you’re overwhelmed by the possibility of a technicolor outfit, go for a more understated approach. “Bright colors and loud prints are often reserved for accessories, which is great if you’re feeling intimidated by wearing so much color,” says Wetzbarger. “Sneakers are a must for Pride. Gucci’s Rhyton sneakers rep the flag and can be worn any day of the year. A colorful statement T-shirt is also a great conversation starter, whether it’s got a message, your favorite logo or a powerful image.”
For the fashion trailblazer, go full force — think Lena Waithe and her rainbow cape at 2018’s Met Gala. “Pride demands whimsy,” advises Wetzbarger. “One year at Pride, I carried a rainbow Judith Leiber clutch and it was a hit. I recommend going hands-free with a crossbody like Burberry’s, inspired by one of the house’s archival envelope bags. And Salvatore Ferragamo’s iconic sandals, originally designed in 1938, never fail to transform any outfit. Pair them with a bold sequined dress for the ultimate look.”
Another thing to consider when dressing for Pride — and shopping consciously — is not what to wear, but who. The queer community has always influenced fashion and been an essential part of the industry, despite a lack of widespread acknowledgement. “A brand doesn’t have to produce a rainbow capsule collection to be a force for equal rights, anti-discrimination and love,” proclaims Wetzbarger. “Any and all designers, stylists, CEOs, influencers, et cetera who are out and proudly advocating for the queer community deserve our support!”