Happy Pride Month, Aerie fam! We’re happy to announce that we are once again supporting the It Gets Better Project, a non-profit that provides hope, encouragement and community to millions of young LGBTQ+ people worldwide. This year, our $100,000 donation goes to It Gets Better’s 50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices program, which empowers students across the United States to make their schools more open and inclusive.
Meet the Winners of Our Pride T-shirt Contest
We’re also celebrating the month by launching two exclusive t-shirts designed by the Aerie fam! We asked you to send in your Pride-themed t-shirt designs and tell us what they meant to you. The two winners, Jess Riggs & Hadley Stewart, each had their design featured on an online-exclusive Aerie t-shirt. Keep reading to learn what inspired their designs, what Pride means to them and how they’ll be celebrating this year!
Q&A with Jess Riggs & Hadley Stewart
Tell us what inspired you to create your design.
Hadley Stewart: Seeing my design on a shirt means the world to me. When I was creating it, I wanted to make something cute that can show off your identity without screaming it from the rooftops. I wanted a more subtle Pride design for people who haven’t come out yet, something you can wear around your family if you’re nervous to tell them. Seeing my design on a shirt fills me with joy because people can be true to themselves in a cute yet subtle way.
Jess Riggs: I felt inspired by the celebration of Pride & the community itself, and wanted to represent all the colors that make up the community. I love art so I wanted to incorporate some watercolor into the design for a more hand-done, personal feel to the graphic. The peace sign represents peace within, as well as finding love and acceptance. My overall message is to “be you.” There is no shame & stigma in loving who you want to love (including loving yourself!).
What does seeing your design on an Aerie t-shirt mean to you?
Jess: It’s such an amazing feeling! Aerie has really inspired me to be the best me and embrace & love myself. I think we all have struggled with self image at some point in our lives, and many of us still do. Aerie has really helped me embrace the real me, so it feels so meaningful & empowering to see my message on an Aerie tee!
Tell us about your connection to the LGBTQ+ Community as a member or as an ally.
Hadley: I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community! I identify as bisexual (I also accept pansexual because it’s the person, not their gender, but I like the colors on the bisexual flag better and it’s easier to explain to my parents). As someone who hasn’t been out to their parents for very long, I designed the shirt that I would have wanted years ago. Now that I’m out, I can wear my shirt with pride and I’m so, so excited to do so!
Jess: I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community and find so much beauty within it. It’s so refreshing to feel a sense of belonging.
How will you be celebrating Pride this year?
Hadley Stewart: My sister and I have never been able to celebrate Pride because our parents didn’t know we’re queer, but this year I fully plan on taking advantage of all the fun events Richmond has to offer! There’s always a Pride festival downtown by the river and I’ve already let my sister know that we will be attending. I’m really excited— I feel like I’m finally becoming an active participant in my life and I can be open about who I love. And even if we can’t make it downtown, I definitely plan on surprising my sister with a shirt!
Jess: I will be celebrating pride with my loved ones (my partner and my friends) in my hometown of Pittsburgh. I’m super excited to get to wear the shirt I designed & attend our Pride March in downtown. This will be very memorable for me and such a fun way to kick off Pride month! Our city also has our Arts Fest the same weekend so I’m looking forward to celebrating love & art! (Which go hand in hand for me!)
Check Out the Pride Shop!
You can shop Jessica & Hadley’s t-shirt designs in our Pride Shop — plus so many more styles for showing off your pride and support of the LGBTQ+ community.
How are you celebrating Pride this year, Aerie fam? Let us know in the comments!