Submitted by Nigel Whitfield, Director, 10 June 2022
Before the Pride flag, there was the pink triangle. Often worn as a discreet lapel pin, it was a subtle way of indicating your sexuality, in a time when being out was more difficult. Before that, though - and the reason it was adopted - were the camps. Just as Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps had to wear a yellow star, those imprisoned for their sexuality had to wear a pink triangle.
After the war, while many prisoners were freed, not all gay ones were. The law used to lock them up predated the Nazi era, and so many were forced to finish their sentences in ordinary prisons. The book "The men with the pink triangle", by Heinz Holger, and the play "Bent" both look at this shocking treatment.
In designing these trainers, I decided to take a step back from the rainbow flag, so often seen in commercial contexts, especially in Pride month, and create something to remind people more of our history.
The rear outer side of each trainer bears a pink triangle, while the front has an image of barbed wire, representing the camps. The tongue bears the message - said so often of the Holocaust - "Never Again."
Never Again. Yet, for all the times it's been said, in many countries around the world, people face punishment, imprisonment, or even death, just for being LGBTQ. Recent years have seen awful persecutions of gay people in countries like Chechnya and Tanzania. In parts of Europe, anti-LGBT rhetoric is on the rise, and in some countries - including the UK and the US - the transgender community is being viciously attacked.
So, I see these trainers as a reminder of the worst that can happen when we become complacent.
The profits from each sale (which will be around £5, depending on your country, the tax rates there, and your payment method) will be split between Rainbow Railroad and Micro Rainbow, two charities that do important work with LGBT people who need to get to a safer country.
If you are in the EU, you can order the trainers from our EU store
For orders in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and Turkey, please order from our main store. They are not available in other countries.
Women's version now available on our main store here
Note: As with much else in the world today, these trainers are made in China; when producing custom items such as these, the range of options is often limited. The production company we use, Printful, publishes this code of conduct for their partner companies.