Ditch the Corporate Rainbow Washing and Check Out Art From These Queer People of Color Instead
Another year, another Pride month full of corporations pretending they care about us by painting random things in rainbow colors and trying to convince us to buy them. We always knew rainbow capitalism didn’t mean any of these businesses were actually our friends, but this year, the increasingly hostile attitude towards our community has had them hesitate before throwing our colors on their social media profile pics and pulling Pride collections from the shelves, which has really driven that home.
The thing is, you don’t need rainbow capitalism in order to deck yourself out with rainbows and queer art and pride gear, because there’s plenty of queer artists out there DIYing it and trying to scrape together a living in this, our queerphobic capitalist hellscape of a society. Let’s take Pride-wear back to its roots and start shopping from and supporting actual queer creators this year, and to help you get started, here’s a list of queer artists of color you can buy a wide range of art and merch from.
Pins and Jewellery
The Black woman-owned Rose Gold sells everything Pride themed you can imagine, from trans flag shoes to stickers to really cool t-shirts. I’ve decided to stick them in the jewelry section, however, because they have such a wide range of styles available, from polymer clay earrings to enamel rings, and they’re all really pretty.
Run by Levi Mequ, a non-binary Greenland Inuk artist who creates incredible beadwork, Issuaq sells handmade earrings, pins, and necklaces, in a wide range of different pride flags. There’s even a set in Gilbert Baker’s original Pride flag colors, which you don’t see that often and which I have a soft spot for.
Owned by talented Algonquin & Métis beadworker Cai, anim0shbeads is open for commissions. They’ve previously made some fabulous beaded Pride pins, so if you’re looking for something like that you should maybe send them a message.
The Pin Prick
With items featured in the hit Netflix series Sex Education, U.K.-based The Pin Prick offers a wide range of “subtle minimalist” pride accessories created by Jarrell Goh. While primarily focused on enamel pins, available in a huge range of queer Pride designs as well as a handful of other themes, The Pin Prick also stocks other accessories including rainbow braces, shoelaces, and cufflinks.
Singapore-based Heckin’ Unicorn sells cute and quirky enamel pins and earrings, as well as some extras like backpacks, socks, and stationary. With designs ranging from delightful Pride puns like pancakes and bicycle to cute animals and mythical creatures paired with different Pride flags, as well as a variety of pronoun pins, there’s something for everyone.
In addition to selling their designs, Heckin’ Unicorn also focuses on advocacy, stating on their website, “We highlight and criticise LGBTQ+ discrimination in Singapore, organise LGBTQ+ and trans-awareness exhibitions, and donate to queer support organisations,” so buying from them helps to support that.
Black Queer Magic
Another Black woman-owned business, Black Queer Magic belongs to jeweler and social worker Vee B. Miller. Filled with her beautiful, complex designs, some of which have magical elements, as well as a collection of custom collars, it’s her upcoming Queer AF collection that made me include Black Queer Magic on this list. Designed to encompass various “gender feels/moods/experiences,” featuring metal stamping and available in numerous formats from tie pins to rings, it looks like a great way to assert your selfhood. Plus, she also takes custom orders.
Clothes and home goods
Bianca Negrón is a genderfluid, Latine designer whose work references various modern art styles, including Bauhaus, and has a fun, geometric yet organic, often cartoony style. In addition to their screen printed and embroidered Pride shirts with really unique designs, they also sell pins, stickers, mugs, and other items, so definitely check those out, too.
Show & Tell
It was really hard to decide which category Black-owned Show & Tell belonged in because they also sell basically everything, and their Pride collection includes makeup, art, candles, and even coffee. However, I eventually settled on clothes and home goods because they have some great, classic rainbow clothes, including a headwrap and full lounge suit.
The Black and Latino-owned Stuzo Clothing has a wide range of Pride themed t-shirts and other clothes. If you like your Pride gear to have fewer rainbows but still be openly and unapologetically queer, Stuzo Clothing is a great choice.
Oregan based, Indigenous-owned Demian Dineyazhi exclusively stocks Indigenous art and small press publications, including a brilliant Pride range. It features t-shirts and hats celebrating Indigenous understandings of gender and queer resistance, as well as stickers, mugs, and other accessories.
Another store that sells a range of different items, Soft Punk has also made it into the clothes and home goods category because their Pride clothes are just so beautiful (though frankly their stained glass sun catcher deserves its own special entry too).
Bunny Angel Art
Owned by Cherii, a trans South Asian artist, Bunny Angel Art sells pins and stationary as well as really adorable pride stickers. If you like your pride gear cute, with cartoon animals in various pride flag colors, then Bunny Angel Art has you covered.
Disabled latinx YouTuber Annie Elainey (she/they) also has a merch store where they stock clothes, mugs, and other items with queer, disabled, latinx pride art and slogans on them. I’ve decided to put them into the sticker section because their it’s their stickers that really stand out to me.
The art of Felix Deon
Felix Deon is a Mexican artist who produces the most beautiful, intimate, and touching queer watercolours. Drawing on a range of influences from vintage illustrations to Loteria and Tarot cards, and various traditional Mexican art forms, Deon’s work includes incredible queer erotica as well as powerful celebrations of queerness in all its forms.
Art by Rose Bousamra
Arab American artist Rose Bousamra creates beautiful prints and enamel pins with dreamlike imagery and soft, saturated colors. Not all of her work is explicitly queer, but it all has a queer vibe, and the pieces that are have a lovely, transcendent feeling to them.
(featured image: The Progress Rainbow Flag Shoelace Locks, The Pin Prick)
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