By Greg Hernandez
Lucky Brand’s Lucky x Love T-shirt design contest in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month garnered 165 entries: T-shirts designed by contest winners Shannon Li, Karch Hurlburt, and Michael Perkins will go on sale in June; $10 from every shirt sold will be donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“No matter who you are, who you love, we want to support individuality and anyone who lives a life of passion and conviction and encourages anyone to do the same,” says Timothy Mack, Lucky Brand’s senior vice president of strategic brand marketing. “The winners are amazing. They demonstrate love in all its forms. We love all three of them.”
Li, a freshman at the University of Michigan who grew up in Brooklyn, says she leapt at the chance to submit a design titled “Love and Pride” because it represented an opportunity to merge art and design with social justice.
“I’ve learned how important it is for a youth to be able to advocate for many issues,” Li says. “Even someone who is young can have a powerful voice. There are definitely a lot of issues occurring in the world and the need for a lot of voices.”
Her winning T-shirt reads: Lucky to be me. To live freely. To be seen. To have my voice heard. To advocate. To find beauty from within. To embrace my individuality. To let diversity rise above all. To find community. To write my own story. To take charge, To redefine stereotypes. To be loved. To love. Lucky x Love.
“Whoever wears the shirt, whether they identify as LGBT or as an ally, is wearing it for a lot of people in the world who don’t have the opportunity to raise their voice,” Li says. “The shirt has advocacy behind it and the words have powerful meaning behind them.”
Karch Hurlburt, a California high school student, submitted a winning entry titled “The Lucky Ones” featuring two men sharing a tender kiss. One of the men’s fingers are crossed to form the “x” in the “Lucky x Love” slogan.
“Since it was about pride and the queer community, I wanted to do something that was unabashedly queer,” says Hurlburt, who begins art school on the East Coast in the fall. “This is about being proud, about being lucky; this is about love.”
Hurlburt came out as gay at the age of 14 and has always felt that his sexual orientation is something to be proud of.
“I’ve always been really inspired by same-sex relationships,” he says. “It’s important to me now to put that into the world. Diversity is a big part of what I’m trying to represent in my stuff in terms of sex and gender. People of color are also just as underrepresented in the art world as queer people. Every piece of art I make is about breaking down barriers.”
The third winning design was created by 37-year-old LGBT ally Michael Perkins, a nursing student at University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
“I love making T-shirts for fun for my friends and myself all the time, but I had no clue I was going to win,” Perkins says.
He titled his design “Love for All” because he is in full support of LGBT equality.
“I have a beautiful wife, and we have two daughters. I hope that by the time our kids get older, people will have stopped yelling at each other and stopped going after each other,” Perkins says. “Why does it matter to anyone who anyone else loves? Treat people the way you want to be treated. That is all everyone’s got to do.”
The entries were judged by a panel of creators, influencers, and leaders in the LGBTQ community: model and comedian Arisce Wanzer, photographer Luke Austin, stylist and designer Roman Sipe, diversity and inclusion specialist Herald Alvarez, archives specialist Cooper T. Moll, and the Center’s Strategic Partnership Manager Melantha Hodge.