Campaign: Varsity Collection

Brand: Grindr in Partnership with Athlete Ally


Since it’s launch in 2009, Grindr has evolved. Yes, it’s still an app that makes cruising safer and easier for gay men, but it’s become so much more than that in the last few years.

The platform now acts as a support system and a well of information to make life easier and safer for users, whether it be creating a dialogue about LGBTQ health to removing barriers that prevent users from getting tested to informing the community about relevant shifting contexts worldwide. Political issues are also championed by calling on LGBTQ people to take control of their futures by voting “so we all have a seat at the political table.” It even includes global issues by “using geolocation to connect users fleeing violence and oppression with health and legal services, as well as safe spaces for them to be themselves.”

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But that’s not all, aside from making sure you’re in the know about PrEP options or picking up premium tickets to Madonna concerts, August sees the launch of Grindr’s first ever fashion line.

Collaborating with printing design studio Print All Over Me, “The Varsity Collection” is made up of 29 separate pieces of sportswear, workout gear, and swimming trunks. All proceeds from the fashion line go towards Athlete Ally – a charity dedicated to fighting homophobia and transphobia in sports – and it’s Principle 6 campaign.

Launched before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Principle 6 stands in solidarity “with lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Russia and around the world.” Created as a direct response to Russia’s anti-gay laws, the initiative uses the language of the Olympic Charter to allow fans, athletes, and supporters of the course to speak out against prejudice and discrimination in Olympic Sport. The campaign is named after Principle 6 of the Charter which states that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

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Despite the rallying support of LGBT members and allies, persecution related to homophobia and transphobia is still rife, (particularly within the sporting world) with people suffering everyday as a result. So it is of vital importance that campaigns like Athlete Ally and Principle 6 exist to confront “the reality that sports often marginalize LGBT athletes” and help change athletic culture for the better, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“As we keep evolving, we are looking for ways to combine things people enjoy with ways to help the community globally. The collection feels sexy, cheeky, fun, but in the end, all profits are going to an amazing group that helps athletes with the issues the gay community faces all around the world. It felt like a different way to approach sports, and every partner in the mix has been amazing,” stated Landis Smithers, Creative Director of Grindr.

It’s exciting to see a digital tool being used to tackle different issues, rally an audience, and provide a support base for a community. With the Varsity Collection seeking to disrupt “the traditionally heteronormative sports world” one piece of clothing at a time, we look forward to seeing what Grindr comes up with next.

Images: Grindr