My name is Carolina Gonzalez-Llanos, I'm the head of the Five Ultimate Online Store. The Pride gear is very personal to me, and I'd like to share the story of how it came to be!
When I joined my college team as a junior, I was only looking for a new group to hang out and play sports with. What I found was an incredibly welcoming, accepting, and outrageously awesome community.
I instantly fell in love with the ultimate world and everyone in it. The UCF Sirens let me feel comfortable being me, and I was finally able to admit to myself that my sexuality wasn’t as black and white as my upbringing had suggested. #ReligiousSouth
A few years later, I came to work at Five as the Director of E-commerce because I wanted to give back to the community that gave me so much. Part of my job at Five is to decide what we want to put in the online store, and when I started planning for 2017, I knew I wanted to make a statement with a full Pride launch.
Designing the gear
If you know Five at all, you know that rainbow products have been part of our culture from the start. We’ve made sublimated rainbow hydro shorts, headbands, nekkies, armsleeves, jerseys, and discs. We even made a sublimated rainbow pillow case one time, and it was hella comfy, too.
But for the Pride launch in June, I wanted to do more than simply plop our signature rainbow pattern on another piece of Five swag.
Instead, I worked with Tim Robinson, a local designer and ultimate player here in Seattle, to create a new group of designs that had character and meaning all their own. We tried a few different styles, but eventually decided on a map-themed inspiration to show that as a universal issue, rights for LGBTQ+ folks (and everyone else for that matter) should have no geographic boundaries. We're all in it together.
I talked to our production team about how we could make this launch even more special, and they wonderfully pulled together some custom rainbow Five patches and rainbow thread for all the Pride items.
Fun fact: the Proud American Gun Show Tank has Alaska and Hawaii printed on the back, and they are DEFINITELY to scale. We walked it out ourselves. Seriously, don't question it.
The products are a huge part of a launch, but to really show our commitment to Pride, we knew we needed to get some LGBTQ+ ultimate players on our site, repping the new swag.
And as you’d expect, we had a ball taking pictures on the rainbow walkways of Capitol Hill in Seattle and blasting confetti poppers into the air!
Pro Tip: Picking up confetti off of grass and concrete is surprisingly difficult and time-consuming. A multi-purpose disc helps.
Supporting LGBTQ+ Rights with more than just words
So at this point, we had the vision, the products, and the pictures to make this thing real. We launched the gear in May, so folks had time to Pride-up their wardrobe in time to celebrate in style in June.
For Pride Month, we decided that this gear should do more than celebrate our LGBTQ+ ultimate community members; so we looked for a way to use the gear to make a real difference in our fight for true equality.
We decided to partner again with the Campaign for Southern Equality, an Asheville, North Carolina based organization that works across the south to promote full LGBTQ+ equality, both legal and lived. For the month of June, we are donating 15% of the proceeds from our Pride gear to the CSE and allowing extra donations to be added when you choose a Pride product.
From the get-go we set out to make a Pride launch that allows everyone to celebrate who they are and how they identify, whether it’s gay, straight, bi, asexual, trans, questioning, pan, or anything in between.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the collection, our partnership with CSE, or anything else Pride related, so leave a comment, or email us directly at email@example.com!
Yours in ultimate and rainbows,