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Stretching to the rainbow: how sports fashionably does the LGBT community


What if fashion and sports joined forces and sent a strong message to the world? It’s all happened. It all went down when the All Blacks wore the colours of the LGBT rainbow in the name of #diversityIsStrength.

This is taking us through a journey of the iconic flag in fashion

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A team effort to teach a lesson

There’s nobody better qualified in the world to send out a clear message in an efficient and powerful way like the statuesque hookers and wings of the kings of world rugby.

The All Blacks used all their captivating charisma.

The one that has everyone glued to the telly those seconds before the kick-off when the formation performs the best act you could ever witness: the imponderable self confidence that with one look, as the rhythm picks up, can have the most ferocious opponent tremble.

The scream of the haka.

This time round, the scream was silent, but even louder in society. Our modern society, where we all claim to have accepted, evolved and liberated ourselves from medieval practices.

The scream was through a gesture: a hand that stretches the uniform shirt to reveal the colours of the LGBT rainbow, jumping out of the majestic chest of the players, which is normally dressed in total black.

[is this a popularity move?]

Long story short, it isn’t.

It has all kicked off when Wallabies Israel Folau scored an own try (you gotta have special talents for that) with his ‘Hell’s God plan for gays’ he posted on Instagram on April 3rd. Never mind the fact he actually posed himself for the cover of a gay magazine. Never mind all the possible implication such a statement has on all aspects of society and sport, first in line rugby, the one sport who has been ‘coming out’ more in the recent years.

The idea of the advert to create a ‘United Black’ as the voice over says in the video, came to sponsor AIG and advertising company TBWA/Hakuhodo.

The interesting question is: can this exciting fabric inspire fashion?

We have learnt – thanks to the help of MoMA as well – that fashion and society talk to each other. Look at where we’ve come from Victorian stiff gowns and landed to flowy oversized dresses for the summer. We’ve gone from boy wears trousers to girl wearing boyfriend jeans. From rappers wearing only XXL t-shirts to sporting black lace shirts.

If we were fashion makers, we most definitely would think about using the ‘stretch to reveal’ concept in other creative ways too: not necessarily to send out messages, although it would be the ultimate goal.

Whereas some years back big corporations did use the LGBT rainbow claiming to promote ‘Pride’ with dubious authenticity of their intent: Smirnoff launched in 2016 together with Dawn O’Porter’s fashion brand BOB a line of Love Wins bottles – obviously featuring all the colours of the rainbow – to celebrate pride.

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If the LGBT(IQ) community has hit many spots, the one around fashion is for sure where it didn’t take many chances. We did mention a while back when during fashion month Burberry launched their tartan rainbow pattern, with Cara Delevingne announcing this choice by walking the runway wearing a rainbow in the shape of faux fur coat.

Burberry used the rainbow as their inspiration for the whole collection, including knitwear, skirts and accessories.

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What’s next? Check out what happened on the Met Gala 2018 red carpet and find out how the LGBTQ rainbow made it on there.