Pride with ASOS...

By Lucy Harbron - 15:28

ASOS Design X GLAAD t-shirt: shop here

Beret: shop here
Pinafore dress - Primark
Trainers - Clarks Trigenics

As if my internship wasn't amazing enough for allowing me to spend the summer exploring one of my favourite cities and working for one of my favourite brands, within my first week I was offered the chance to join ASOS as they marched in Pride London for the first time to capture the experience for social media. Pinch me.

There is definitely a criticism to be made of brands and businesses at pride, and I'm certainly one of those people that raises an eyebrow at certain brands presence, questioning what they've ever done for the LGBT+ community. The commercialisation of Pride and businesses capitalising off pride and the gay community while doing nothing at all to further progress and end discrimination is a huge issue, but luckily this wasn't a dilemma I had to face.

In my first week at ASOS, the one thing that struck me and made me so so so happy, was their genuine, real loyalty to ethics and working to make the brand as diverse, representative, and accessible as possible. Out of fear of sounding like they're blowing their own trumpet, ASOS don't shout loud enough about the amazing things they do, so here's a brief rundown:

  • They've worked with BEAT, the UK's largest eating disorder charity, for over 5 years allowing them to provide 27,439 support sessions to sufferers and their families in the last 12 months, and provide support to any and all models if/when they need it.
  • They're passionate about not retouching their models, so all stretch marks, scars, moles and freckles are left in.
  • They recently released a new rainproof jumpsuit designed with and for disabled people and modeled by Chloe Ball-Hopkins who helped design the product.
  • They've worked with the Diana Awards since 2015 to help stop bullying and launched #senseofself a programme for school kids based around body image and self-esteem.
And in the time I've been there, I've been in awe of their work with GLAAD, and how donated 25% of the money made by their collection together and raised over £40,000. So I had absolutely no moral dilemma when it came to marching with ASOS, but they seriously care and have put in work for this cause and so many others.

The entire day was a dream, and I certainly felt proud, proud of the amazing LGBT+ community, proud of myself, and proud to be representing such an amazing brand. ASOS had thought of everything, ensuring their presence at the parade was bold and celebratory, but still reflective of the history of pride. We marched wearing berets and carrying signs as a nod to the political and protest history of pride, we wore limited edition t-shirts featuring art by the amazing Joy Miessi, a young LGBT+ artist from London and invited writers from the gay times and friends of ASOS like voguer Jay Jay Revlon to march with us. Our theme was unity which felt so fitting as we marched together, members of the community, allies and friends all there to celebrate the progress made and keep pushing forward until full equality and the end of hate is achieved.

I've only attended pride once before, catching the parade briefly when I was 16/17, and even then I was amazed by the support, love, and excitement of the crowd. But being on the other side and marching in the parade is a whole new level. I was looking around and all I could see were faces of people who were happy. There's something undeniably infectious about pride; you can't help but smile. It's inspiring to see a community that's suffered so much and fought so hard come together for an occasion that's nothing less than ecstatic, with everyone dancing, singing, cheering, and celebrating the incredible progress made, bearing in mind that homosexuality was only legalised in 1967 and gay marriage not legalised in the UK until 2013, only 5 years ago. And to be in the middle of it all, with people applauding and cheering and high fiving you from the crowd, is overwhelming, to say the least, it makes you realise that we're fighting the good fight.

I was pleasantly surprised that we saw no protest from the crowd, no god hates you signs or any sign of disagreement. The entire routine was a tunnel of love, with face spread either side, smiling, crying, laughing, celebrating being allowed to be who they are and raising their voice to demand whats next. It was a privilege to be apart of a protest like no other and to be able to play a part in shaping pride that day, knowing I was representing a brand that actually helps, surrounded by inspiring co-workers who are passionate, and seeing nothing but support.

All I can say is that I was proud. The experience was awe-inspiring and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Despite all the fear and struggle of today, with Trump, the collapsing government, and rise in ignorance we're facing, there is still good. And when the reason is right, we unite and face it together, whether it be cheering from the sidelines, holding a sign, or raising your voices to demand that the fight continues to be fought, until everyone is safe, free, unafraid, and equal.

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