Reebok Kicks Off Pride Month with Line of GenderLess Clothing
With the arrival of Pride Month, comes the launch of Reebok’s 2023 Pride collection: Unity by Reebok.
Reebok has put out a Pride line every June since 2019. In years passed, the line has included trainers with rainbow-inspired colorwaves and pride-themed graphic tees.
This year, however, the iconic brand is taking a step towards greater gender inclusivity and with a line-up of gender-less apparel and footwear.
Design by Reebok’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, Colorful Sole, Unity by Reebok line was made so that anybody — no matter their body shape, size, or silhouette — can wear the items.
Here’s the thing: Reebok isn’t the first fitness clothing brand to launch a gender-free, genderless, or gender-neutral clothing line. Over the last two years, athleisure brands Girlfriend Collective released a Gender-Neutral collection, Merrell launched a size- and gender-inclusive Unlikely Hiker line, PrAna launched a Gender-Neutral capsule line, and Adidas added a Gender Neutral search option on their site.
But Reebok is the first fitness brand in the CrossFit clothing space to release gender-free garb.
From both a social justice and fashion standpoint, the power of this launch can’t be understated.
For starters, Reebok’s launch of products like Nano X3 Pride Line Training Shoes ($150), breathable Unity Workout Top ($40), and Unity Allover Print Workout Bottoms ($40) signal that the sport of functional fitness can be enjoyed by people across the sexuality and gender spectrum — not just those who have a gender that fits seamlessly into the one of the two (man or woman) gender categories an individual must select when signing up for the CrossFit Open.
Second, the actual design and design process of the wear in the Unity line are innovative.
Typically, when a clothing brand launches a Gender Neutral line, they simply size-down their men’s line-up and slap a label like ‘gender neutral’ or ‘unisex’ onto the clothing. The problem is that this approach conflates genderless with boy-ish, and results in a line-up of clothes that don’t fit the curvier shapes of some of the people who might be interested in gender-free wear.
From a fit and design standpoint, Reebok took a totally different approach.
Rather than tweaking their current offering, “we started fresh, crafting all design elements thinking of how it would work for any anatomy,” explains Reebok’s senior product manager, Katelyn Landry.
Reebok’s team of designers worked with and interviewed gender-expansive, non-binary, and trans athletes to learn more about their specific needs in a performance product, she says. “The trans athletes’ input informed many of our design choices, such as where we added additional stretch, coverage, or unique cutlines.”
The result is a line-up of lifestyle and workout clothing like the Unity Skirt ($50) and Unity Bodysuit ($70) which feature tasteful pleats and extra fabric, respectively, in areas where you might need (or want) it. Namely, in and around the gusset.
While the current line-up includes a neat collection of tops, bottoms, and footwear for athletes across the gender spectrum, this is just the inaugural offerings in this inclusive line.
Unity by Reebok is the first within a longer-term commitment to create and sell genderless products. “There are pieces coming down the line that really push the product even further in the right direction,” according to Landry. So, while the line was launched at the start of Pride Month, genderless clothing will be part of Reebok’s athletic offering moving forward.
Perhaps the exciting part is that in conjunction with the release, Reebok donated $15K to Boston-based Whittier Street Health Center’s LGBTQ Youth Wellness Program.
This is a program aimed to increase mental and physical health services to the underserved Black and Brown LGBTQ youth in the Greater Boston community.
No doubt, the launch of Unity by Reebok is exciting for the most financially privileged members of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies. But the truth is that on its own, this launch does not help the most disadvantaged in the community have access to basic health care and shelter. By donating to a charity like Whittier Street Health Center’s LGBTQ Youth Wellness Program, Reebok is signaling that they don’t simply see gender-expansive folks and the rest of the LGBTQ+ as a source of potential income, but as a community that deserves lifting up.
“Every year that Reebok has made a Pride collection of products, we have also given back to the LGBTQ+ community in some way,” says co-chair of Colorful Soles, Reebok’s LGBTQIA+ org, Ken Hanson. “We are so proud to have supported a multitude of organizations over the last handful of years, both national and local ones, and we are super excited to support a Boston-based organization this year that is helping folks right in our backyard.”
You can shop the gender-free Unity by Reebok collection by going to Reebok.com.