American Apparel lends support to Russian anti-gay law protest

American Apparel has partnered LGBT campaign groups All Out and Athlete Ally to sell a clothing line challenging what has been described as Russia’s “anti-gay laws” ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

American Apparel Principle 6

The “Principle 6” clothing range reflects the sixth principle of the Olympic Charter, which states: “sport does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise”.

All Out and Athlete Ally state on a purpose-built “Principle 6” website that wearing the merchandise will help uphold the principle of inclusion and underscore Russia’s “anti-LGBT discrimination”, following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s move in June to sign a law that prohibits the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

The clothing line – which currently includes t-shirts, a hoodie and briefs – is now available from American Apparel’s global ecommerce sites and will be sold in stores internationally from 1 January 2014.

The majority of the sale proceeds will cover the costs of the Principle 6 campaign and will then be donated to Russian LGBT advocacy groups, according to a statement from Principle 6.

Iris Alonzo, American Apparel creative director, says: “American Apparel has always stood up for the LGBT community. The idea of excluding anyone from the Olympic Games based on their sexual orientation is unthinkable. We are proud to join Athlete Ally and All Out to provide a way for athletes and fans to speak out against unjust discrimination.”

Principle 6 has signed up a number of Sochi-bound athletes to support the campaign, including Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, New Zealander speed skater Blake Skjellerup and Canadian alpine skier Mike Janyk.

All Out has been particularly vocal in its campaigning of Olympic sponsors ahead of Sochi 2014, which takes place next February. In October, 100 days from the start of the Games, the group held a demonstration at Coca-Cola’s Atlanta campus with trucks towing billboards reading: “Coca-Cola, don’t stay bottled up, speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws”. It has also created a petition urging the brand to call for the repeal of the anti-gay law, which has been signed by more than 360,000 people. 

Coca-Cola told Marketing Week in November it is to make the messages around the brand’s equality and diversity values “more pointed” over the coming months. Senior vice president of integrated marketing and communication and design excellence for North America Jonathan Mildenhall said the shift in strategy was “not reactive” to the protests around the anti-gay law being passed in Russia, but added this topical issue makes what the brand is planning to do “even more relevant” 

For more Sochi 2014 coverage click here

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