This Pride month, Saks Off 5th is promoting LGBTQ+ inclusivity in stores and at the corporate level.
The retailer partnered with the Phluid Project, an LGBTQ-owned, gender-neutral apparel company, to launch a limited-edition Pride collection. Items include T-shirts, tote bags, hats, pool slides and sneakers with items ranging between $25-$50. All proceeds will benefit Phluid Project’s nonprofit, Phluid Foundation, which works with marginalzied communities including homeless LGBTQ+ youth and transgender women of color.
The campaign features members of the LGBTQ+ community who self-styled their own looks, showing off their individual personalities.
“What really attracted us to the Phluid Project was the ability to form a partnership that went far beyond selling products or a marketing campaign,” Sara Griffin, SVP of marketing at Saks Off 5th, told Campaign US. “[This is] a meaningful partnership that does some of the difficult work within our organization and in our communities at large.”
The partnership extends into Saks Off 5th’s office, where Rob Smith, founder of the Phluid Project, will lead a corporate DE&I training session, which he created a year ago.
“Being a corporate guy myself, I realized how unprepared companies are for this expansive workforce,” Smith said. “You can still be a heteronormative person, but being gender expressive is different than the societal norms.”
Saks Off 5th also plans to extend more hiring opportunities to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The partnership was the perfect marriage of fashion and purpose for Saks Off 5th’s mission, Griffin said.
“Fashion plays such an important role in confidence in self expression, and ultimately, self identity,” she said. “It’s less about selling products, and more about advancing an important social issue for us.”
For Smith, it’s pivotal for big brands to partner with LGBTQ+-owned companies, but not because it's a trending topic in June.
“Everyone is looking for companies that are rainbow washing, just slapping a rainbow flag on and done,” said Smith. “Saks Off 5th showed how a partnership can be done with a big retailer that gives far-reaching access to the brand and begins to create a conversation.”