by Stephen Garner

Express has announced the brand’s launch of the Love Unites collection, paying tribute to nearly five decades of Pride and the global empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community.

Along with non-profit partner GLAAD, Love Unites is a celebratory gender-fluid collection of 35 pieces that honors unity and individuality. Classic pieces like hoodies, tank tops, dresses, and tees are reimagined with the iconic rainbow detail displayed through innovative techniques like tie-dye, piping, edging and embossing.

Express has also committed to a minimum $100,000 donation to GLAAD to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community; for every Love Unites item purchased by July 15, Express will donate 25 percent of the net income.

Rather than producing a traditional photoshoot to showcase the collection, Express partnered with the staff of Out Magazine to present individual stories of perseverance, style and self-acceptance. Documented by photographer Lia Clay and videographer Kelly Teacher, editor in chief Phillip Picardi appears with executive editor Raquel Willis and associate managing editor Coco Romack in a series of collaborative and emotional photos and videos highlighting their singular journeys and personal style. As colleagues, as friends, and as LGBTQ+ advocates, the three are stronger together—and it’s this spirit Express hopes to fortify with the Love Unites collection. “My style allows me to make a statement about who I am. My style allows me to own my womanhood,” Willis said. “Acceptance isn’t just tolerance. Acceptance is being excited about people’s differences,” added Romack.

“Since our inception in 1980, unity and acceptance have been core values for Express. We also recognize the importance of representation and are delighted to offer a platform for members of the LGBTQ+ community to tell their own stories—and nobody does that better than the editors of Out,” said Patrice Croci, vice president of brand and performance marketing at Express. “It’s an honor and a privilege to continue to support the important work GLAAD does every day with Love Unites.”

“The Express Love Unites collection showcases the talented editors of Out Magazine and the communities they represent, and GLAAD is proud to be a partner alongside them,” added Zeke Stokes, chief programs officer at GLAAD. “The visibility that this collection will garner in hundreds of Express retail locations will help accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community and enable people of all genders to dress with Pride.”