American Apparel spotlights diverse LGBTQ cast in "They O.K." campaign
Iconic LA-based clothing brand American Apparel is celebrating Gay Pride with an inclusive campaign seeking to give visibility to the trans and non-binary community, and a capsule collection, the proceeds from which will go to suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project.
The “They O.K.” campaign references the classic “Gay O.K.” t-shirts launched by American Apparel for Pride 2012, updating the slogan and adding the tagline “All Pronouns Welcome” in order to include people from all across the gender spectrum.
The campaign features nine models recruited through an open casting call encouraging members of the LGBTQ community to apply, and American Apparel intends to continue collaborating with the selected applicants in future campaigns in order to help give visibility to underrepresented communities.
On Monday, the brand uploaded a series of short backstage videos to its Youtube account in which the models discussed their experiences as diverse members of the LGBTQ community, adding another dimension to the campaign by providing its protagonists with a platform for their stories. Each of the models has also been profiled on American Apparel's Instagram account over the past weeks.
Products in the limited-edition “They O.K.” capsule released at the end of last month include unisex white t-shirts and canvas tote bags featuring the slogan “They O.K.: All Pronouns Welcome” in rainbow block capitals, and t-shirts that read “Still here. Still queer.”
Proceeds from the sale of products in the capsule will go to The Trevor Project, a US non-profit organization founded in 1998 to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under the age of 25.
As has now become common practise, Gay Pride 2018 has seen a number of brands launching products and campaigns in support of the LGBTQ community, including Gap which released its “We Are One” t-shirts at the beginning of this month and plans to donate $5 from every sale to the UN’s Free & Equal program, which promotes LGBTQ rights around the world.
American Apparel itself is a long-time supporter of Gay Pride and LGBTQ rights in general, having previously released “Make America Gay Again” t-shirts as a tongue-in-cheek riposte to US President Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and “Legalize Gay” tees in opposition to Proposition 8.
After its acquisition by Gildan Activewear last year, followed by a relaunch and an inclusive female-led rebrand, American Apparel has been trying to distance itself from some of its more controversial past campaigns, which were regularly accused of misogyny and over-sexualization.
With its intentionally diverse cast and tagline focusing on trans identity, the brand’s latest Pride campaign seems to be a continuation of these efforts and even corrects for problems identified with the retailer's previous Pride offerings, some of which were criticized for spotlighting too narrow a slice of a large and varied community.
Products in the “They O.K.” range are now available on the American Apparel e-commerce website, with t-shirts selling for $24 and totes for $30.
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