The next iteration of our LOVED. T-shirt is finally here, the Naturally You T-shirt. The Naturally You T-shirt is a collaboration between us, lifestyle blogger, Mr. Fab and designer, Mike Hooves. As an evolution from our 2020 LOVED. T-shirt, we wanted to show our diverse community, our people and our families in our natural dynamics. Mike’s inspiration behind the design was to use joyful figures and blooming florals. The Naturally You T-shirt celebrates the naturalization of queerness in society and the intersection of queerness with the natural world. The Naturally You T-shirt is part of our Give Back collection, $15 from every Naturally You T-shirt will donate to the Calgary Queer Arts Society. 

When we first spoke to Mr. Fab about the LOVED. 2022 campaign, we thought, let’s do something different. What can we bring awareness to? How can we harness a powerful message with a new garment to add to the LOVED. collection? We had decided we wanted the new t-shirt to have colours hot pink and turquoise to be represented in the design. Mr.Fab tells us why hot pink and turquoise are so meaningful and impactful, plus a deeper look into the history of the pride colours: 

“In 1978, when some of the first Pride flags were being imagined, one concept created by a group of individuals led by Gilbert Baker included an 8-colour striped design. The flag’s fabric was hand dyed and sewn together to honour the feeling of community amongst the LGBT people and their fight for equality. 

Hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.

In 1979, the Pride flag design was chosen as a symbol for the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco to honour activist Harvey Milk. 

Unfortunately, Hot Pink fabric dye was in scarcity and could not be produced, so it was decided that the stripe would be removed from the flag. To further complicate matters, the Parade committee wanted to split the flag evenly along each side of the street and in order to keep it symmetrical, the turquoise colour was eliminated; giving us the six-coloured Classic Pride flag we know and recognize today. 

In appreciation of our community’s past and to honour those who stood proudly, we have brought back the Hot Pink and Turquoise colours and utilized them in a design to show how we can continue to love thanks to their contributions. 

We have titled this shirt ‘Naturally You’ and have collaborated with artist Mike Hooves on its design, asking them to show our diverse community, our people and our families in our natural dynamics.”

From determining the colours of the new design and beginning to imagine what we wanted the new t-shirt to represent, designer, Mike Hooves, created a design, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. We asked Mike to give us more insight into the design inspiration and background behind creating the Naturally You T-shirt.

“‘Naturally You’ depicts 2SLGBTQIA+ people and relationships in a garden of queerness. Those I’ve encountered and observed throughout my life inspired these figures. Many figures are barefoot, grounding them in a community and connecting them to the natural world. Queerness is a rich visual language; our community uses a variety of colours and symbols to communicate with each other. Inspired by the natural bamboo fibres that make this shirt, I drew from the queer vocabulary of flowers, with this illustration depicting five flowers significant to the queer community: Lavender, Pansies, Violets, and Green Carnation and Roses.” 

There are several different flowers in the design of Naturally You. If you look closely, you’ll find roses, pansies, lavender, violet, and green carnation. Mike describes the background of choosing these specific flowers to be represented in Naturally You and why: 

  • Pansy: Used as an insult used to disparage perceived weak or effeminate men in the 1900s, this was re-appropriated by the queer community as a self-referential and celebratory term.
  • Lavender: Another early insult aimed towards perceived queer men. Lavender became an identifying term by queers and their dissidents, especially from the 1950s-to 70s. Events such as ‘the Lavender Scare’, a witch-hunt perpetrated against queer government employees and “The Lavender Menace”, a term coined to describe lesbians.
  • Violet: Violets are linked to Sappho, a poet of Ancient Greece whose writings contained many erotic and romantic depictions of women adorned in flowers, including the violet. The use of violets was revived in the early 1900s as a depiction of sapphic love in the play The Captive which opened in Paris and New York. This play inspired Lesbians to wear violets to identify themselves with each other
  • Green Carnation: The green carnation was established as a queer symbol in the late 1800s. Oscar Wilde and his posse of queer men often wore one, and it became known to be worn by gay men to subtly communicate their queerness within the gay community.
  • Roses: Dyed roses are used in parades at weddings as a symbol of queer love and have become a way to honour the trans community. This recent development derives from the quote “Give us roses while we are still here”, which intends to honour and celebrate transgender people while they are alive, rather than fixating on trans death.

The Naturally You T-shirt is printed on our Natural Tee, made with a bamboo cotton blend, we manufacture this fabric with no dyes or chemicals, therefore, the colour is the natural shade of cotton. The Naturally You t-shirt is moisture-wicking and inherently anti-microbial, meaning the fabric doesn’t hold on to odours (as much) as regular cotton. Shop for your Naturally You T-shirt here!