Sochi 2014: American Apparel’s Principle Message to Russia

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The Winter Olympics in Russia are still a year away, but there’s a movement underway to make sure the playing field in Sochi is a level one.

The Principle 6 campaign takes aim at Russia’s anti-gay laws with a call to athletes and fans to “celebrate the Olympic principle of non-discrimination and call for an end to Russia’s anti-gay laws before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.”

The movement takes it name from the Fundamental Principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter. The sixth principle states “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds or race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

 

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Los Angeles–based manufacturer and retailer American Apparel has teamed up with lesbian/gay/ bisexual/transgender-rights groups Athlete Ally and All Out, to create an apparel collection in support of the Principle 6 campaign.

Athlete Alley is a nonprofit organization “focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports.” All Out was founded with a mission to “build a world where no person will have to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity, because of who they are or who they love.”

American Apparel’s Principle 6 collection is currently available at the company’s e-commerce site and will be sold in American Apparel stores in the U.S. and around the world beginning in January. Proceeds from the sale of the collection will support the campaign and LGBT advocacy groups in Russia fighting discrimination and anti-gay laws, according to the Principle 6 website.

“American Apparel has always stood up for the LGBT community,” said Iris Alonzo, creative director of American Apparel, in a company statement. “The idea of excluding anyone from the Olympic Games based on their sexual orientation is unthinkable. We are proud to join Athlete Ally and All Out to provide a way for athletes and fans to speak out against unjust discrimination.”

Principle 6 has already enlisted the support several Olympic athletes, including snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, speed skater Blake Skjellerup and alpine skier Mike Janyk, who will be competing in Sochi, as well as past Olympic athletes including gold medal-winning diver Greg Louganis, middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds, and luger Cameron Myler, who is now legal scholar, attorney and adjunct professor of International Sports Governance and Legal Issues in Sports at New York University.

The campaign has also lined up several professional athletes, as well, including NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo, Scott Fujita, Chris Kluwe, and Donté Stallworth; tennis players Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mardy Fish; MLS players Stephen McCarthy and Robbie Rogers; NBA/WNBA players Steve Nash, Jason Collins, Teresa Edwards and Kristi Toliver; and rugby player David Pocock.

“By openly supporting Principle 6 at the Winter Games in Sochi, everyone can help uphold and promote the Olympic values of non-discrimination and stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Russia and around the world,” said Anastasia Smirnova, spokesperson for a leading coalition of Russian LGBT groups.

 

Published Dec. 4, 2013 at ApparelNews.net