Pride month is a time to honour diversity and inclusion, celebrating the many identities that contribute to the fabric of our society. We are of course wary, as a business, not to ‘rainbow wash’ ourselves during pride month, and use this as an opportunity to market ourselves - even despite having championed some of the campest heart and rainbow buttons for a long, long time!
I don't think it's a coincidence that I find myself in a male dominated industry, discussing superior screw types and comparing rulers (yes I have a collection of lovely rulers from around the world - DM me and I'll show you). I have often said the furniture industry is a bit of a 'boys club' but I've always found myself welcome and felt safe here. Safe enough to feel and be myself. Yet when I entered the industry, I had never seen anyone like me - even as just a female in the industry - there were a select few to aspire to.
So for me, I'm keen to grow representation for the next generation and shake up this perceived 'club' to show that it's more diverse than meets the eye. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” is a phrase that springs to mind. For queer people, seeing people like themselves is so important to help feel validated and not alone.
I am personally always heartened by learning of how the LGBTQ+ community has flourished in this vibrant and dynamic industry. As an example, Eileen Gray was a pioneer of industrial design, however not many would know that she was bisexual and is somewhat of an Irish queer icon. So I wanted to take a deeper dive in to understanding why the creative industries have a high proportion of what is affectionally known in the community as ‘family’.
In recent years, there has been a remarkable shift towards creating safe and inclusive spaces for not just LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace, but also for other minority groups. The creative industries, including the furniture industry, have been at the forefront of this change. Here, individuality and self-expression are celebrated, making it an ideal space for professionals of diverse backgrounds to thrive and embrace their true selves.
Creative spaces encourage collaboration and foster a sense of community, where individuals can connect and find understanding. This network becomes an invaluable resource for mentorship, guidance, and a sense of belonging, ultimately empowering LGBTQ+ professionals to excel in their careers, whilst offering genuine representation to those that need it the most.
One of the most empowering aspects of the creative industries is its ability to break stereotypes and challenge societal norms. Individuals have the opportunity to showcase their unique perspective and contribute to a diverse and inclusive narrative. By shattering preconceived notions, this inspires others and paves the way for a more accepting society.
The furniture industry thrives on fresh perspectives, innovative designs, and out-of-the-box thinking. On many occasions I have found myself in loud, glitter covered gay bars and trod rainbow paved streets. No doubt, my experiences in this sensory world has had an influence on the rich tapestry of what makes me 'me'. Identity offers a unique lens through which I and many others have approached design work. Take a look at some of my recent designs - if that's not a little bit fruity then I don't know what is.
We're starting to see more and more prominent LGBTQ+ figures in the industry, flamboyant and unapologetic in their approach and references. Like me, it is their life experiences and underground network of ‘cause and effects’, that have shaped their successes.
Adam Nathanial Furman, for example, is a leading designer who's work reflects who they are and the experiences of LGBTQ+ persons. Their work 'Proud Little Pyramid' which was displayed in Kings Cross 2021 during Pride Month, celebrates queerness in all of its glory and narrates the queer history of the site itself. The work stands as a monument to the breaking down of stereotypes and exuding joy, whilst providing solace to persons in the community and their allies.
By embracing your true self, you bring a menagerie of insights and ideas, helping to curate a world that resonates with diverse consumers and reflects their lived experiences. By enriching the lives of those who use and experience those designs we're helping society to live in the moment and truely feel the joy and happiness that we're seeking.
The creative industries have long been a haven for LGBTQ+ individuals, providing spaces where self-expression and authenticity are celebrated. From renowned designers to talented artisans, the furniture industry boasts a rich tapestry of diverse voices, but we need to shout louder.
As we celebrate Pride Month, we honour the courage and resilience of queer professionals who have made their mark in this vibrant and inclusive realm. These people have not only thrived in their careers but also paved the way for a more inclusive and accepting future. By embracing their true selves, harnessing unique perspectives, and driving positive change, transforming the creative industry into a safe and welcoming space for the entire LGBTQ+ community.
At deadgood, we have always found ourself treading the lines of fun, eccentricity and a little campness. It was one of the many reasons I connected with the founders Dan and Elliot and add my own little bit of flare. Literally - the Flare Sofa. Anyways, I always felt safe here and in the knowledge that I could be unapologetically myself - bringing my unique experiences and perspective to the table.
If our recent showroom update by Trifle* says anything, it's that there is power in personality. So you do you, we'll do us and hopefully we'll meet somewhere in the middle and create the most joyful and welcoming experiences.
Like I said before, we still have work to do in this industry. On an even deeper note, if governments continue to exclude creative subjects from the curriculum, they are inadvertently harming minority groups and where they feel most themselves. I will end on saying, I want to see a more diverse range of persons sending us their design work. You have a safe space here and we're a very open and honest bunch. So please give us a shout.
Peace out, and enjoy/vocalise yourselves this Pride Month. #DeadgoodForEveryone