When you visit your local Starbucks this summer, you may notice your barista wearing a specially designed vibrant t-shirt in celebration of Pride.
For the past 3 years ,the Starbucks Canada Pride Network, one of Starbucks oldest and largest partner networks, made up of hundreds of members of the LGBTQ2+ community and their allies, commissions a t-shirt design contest, giving partners (employees) the opportunity to design a t-shirt in celebration of Pride at Starbucks.
This year’s design was created by Starbucks partner Leigh-Anne from Nova Scotia. Leigh-Anne’s design was selected by the Starbucks Canada Pride committee which received over 100 creative submissions from across the country.
In addition to being a 4-year Starbucks partner, Leigh-Anne is an artist, designer and mom of three.
“Creativity is a passion of mine and I always love a t-shirt design challenge,” says Leigh-Anne who found inspiration for the design through the pandemic.
The design, titled "Pride, Far & Wide", features colourful paper planes with a dash of Rewards Stars, surrounding a Starbucks cup.
“I wanted to create a design that felt like a fun and colourful celebration of Pride, but still acknowledged the fact that we are in a pandemic, and last year most in person celebrations had to be cancelled. I came up with the idea of using the paper plane as a symbol of virtual connection, as it's a common icon used when sending an email or text message. It also represents the fact that most people have been isolated and only able to dream of travelling again someday to celebrate together,” Leigh-Anne says.
“Starbucks has managed to continually connect and uplift people through this past year even if it was simply through a virtual coffee date with friends and loved ones. I included a plane for every colour of the Pride rainbow and I think the design has a hopeful and playful spirit.”
When asked how it feels knowing that partners across the country will be wearing her design, Leigh-Anne says, "It's so exciting to see partners sharing pictures and videos on social media, celebrating Pride in my shirt design! My fellow partners here in Nova Scotia have been wearing the shirts to work and it is wild to see them in real life. I myself usually wear mostly black and grey, but I will be going out of my comfort zone this month to wear that bright orange T!”
On why it was important to take part in the contest, Leigh-Anne says “I would always want my fellow partners and my own kids to feel loved, accepted and valued for exactly who they are.”
As another motivation for entering the contest, Leigh-Anne described that the winning designer was able to select a local charity to receive a small donation. She’s selected a local youth organization in her hometown of Halifax that strives to make the province a happier, healthier and safer place for LGBTQ+ youth by providing support and resources.