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PHOTOS: Is Levi’s Pandering To Us With Its Harvey Milk Collection? Style & Stuff

PHOTOS: Is Levi’s Pandering To Us With Its Harvey Milk Collection?

Written by Matt Keeley on July 27, 2016
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For the third year in a row, Levi Strauss & Co. celebrating Pride Month with a special line of Pride-themed gender-neutral clothing. Though they partnered with the Stonewall Inn last year, this year a portion of Levi’s proceeds from their Pride line will benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation, a U.S. LGBT group who focuses on advancing LGBT rights and visibility around the world.

Levi’s started their Pride collection in 2014, but it was pretty sparse. The entire collection was a shirt, a tank top with the rainbow Levi’s logo, a hat and a free patch available only at select stores (below).

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The 2014 Levi’s Pride Collection T-Shirt
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The 2014 Levi’s hat, and the reverse of the 2014 Levi’s Rainbow Logo Tank Top

While the 2014 t-shirt did have a cool, charming retro design on it, it served mostly to promote Levi’s, especially since the 2014 line had no fundraising aspect to it.

That changed in 2015 when Levi’s donated the net proceeds from its Pride collection to the Stonewall Community Foundation — a New York City-based organization that helps provide funds and leadership development to other LGBT community members and organizations. In addition to the fundraising, the Pride collection itself grew in size and creativity, incorporating gender-neutral sizing in an attempt to connect with the trans community.

The 2015 Pride collection included the 2014 rainbow-colored Levis merchandise as well as a jean jacket covered in counter-culture patches and buttons as well as a ’60s-retro pair of jorts, designed to look like something that may have worn by Stonewall patrons back in 1969, the year of the riots.

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The 2015 Levi’s Limited Edition Stonewall Collection Jacket
The 2015 Levi's Stonewall Collection Jorts
The 2015 Levi’s Stonewall Collection Jorts

For 2016, the collection has increased again. In addition to working with the Harvey Milk Foundation — named for the San Francisco City Supervisor who was tragically assassinated in 1978 — they’ve added bandanas, along with special Harvey Milk T-shirts, jean-jackets, patches and shorts alongside the usual rainbow-colored merch.

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The 2016 Harvey Milk Collection Tank Top (The same design is also available as a T-shirt.)
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2016 Harvey Milk Collection Jorts
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2016 Harvey Milk Collection Jean Jacket
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The 2016 Bandana, which comes in a rainbow of colors.

It’d be easy to write off Levi’s Pride collection as mere pandering to the LGBTQ community, but their partnerships with the Stonewall Community Foundation and the Harvey Milk Foundation show a more sincere commitment to LGBT rights, as do their business practices (as you can see in the infographic below).

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Like Subaru, Levi’s has made their commitment to the community clear — Levi Strauss & Co. has repeatedly filed amicus curiae briefs encouraging marriage equality (including in the 2015 Supreme Court case which legalized marriage equality all over the United States). They also signed letters against North Carolina and Mississippi’s transphobic legislative bills. Not only that, but the HRC has given them a 100 percent rating two years in a row on their Corporate Equality Index. So if Levi’s is pandering — more of this kind of pandering, please.

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