Every year Clonezone’s shop in Old Compton Street is at the heart of the Pride celebrations in Soho. Clonezone’s PR & Brand Manager Topher Taylor, explains why Pride is important to him and describes what will be happening this weekend.
Pride is my favourite time of year to work at Clonezone. And it’s not just because of the street party which takes place on the doorstep of our Soho store, it’s more to do with the gathering of the community. It’s rare that so many of us are all together at the same time, so I do enjoy basking in the company of the colourful people from all areas of the gay community and adult industry. I am cheesy like that.
Pride also invites uniquely chaotic situations into my life, and I always welcome those. I remember a few years ago hanging out of the window of the apartment above the Soho store (I know, health and safety!) with blunt scissors trying to tear open the rip cord of a balloon drop which had got wedged. I was doing this with a pop star friend, a porn star and a few colleagues. DJ Aamyko was behind us spinning a silicone vagina masturbator like it was a boomerang. Pride in London is one of the only days of the year where stuff like this can happen, without anyone batting an eyelid.
On 6 July, all of us at Clonezone are gearing up to spend a day with our colleagues, customers, and the collectives we work alongside. We have some really cool giveaways which will be passed out around Soho by some of our favourite adult performers and models, alongside fun music, in-store promotions as well as a freshly stocked store for ‘Pride looks’.
There’s been a LOT of talk recently about what is and what is not suitable to wear at Pride. For those of you that know me (I’m not assuming that you do), you’ll know that I’m not a fan of following rules and I’ll always wear whatever I want to. Our company has had the same ethos – it’s a day to express yourself. It’s not often you’d feel comfortable or empowered enough to dress up a certain kind of way in public but my personal thought is, do it!
Without sounding like I’m copying soundbites from social media… ultimately, Pride is a protest. Therefore, wear those things you wouldn’t feel particularly safe or comfortable wearing normally but want to wear. This is our day. If you aren’t comfortable travelling from your home to central London dressed up, bring a small bag and pack your outfit into that. Got nowhere to change? Use one of our changing rooms. We will be open early.
We have plenty of Pride themed and suitable gear in our stores. I mean… what does ‘suitable’ even mean, anyway? Pride is about celebrating your sexuality and whether that means wearing a roll neck, head-to-toe BLUF leather gear or parading around in a thong and harness – you’ve just got to do you. I’m sure that some people may pass some sassy comments. And I don’t just mean those who’ve come to watch the parades, those comments can come from people within our own community. My personal advice? F*ck em. Life is short. If you want to wear a harness… wear a harness.
I don’t want do to the predictable thing of listing off special offers or rainbow items which may be on sale in the shop. Of course, we’ll have that because we are Clonezone. We are bound to have something in the shop that’ll spice up your outfit. Come and say hello if you’re in Soho on July 6th.
Looking forward to seeing everyone’s beautiful faces, JUST hopefully not sunburned. Remember to stay safe, plan your routes and most importantly to stand side by side with the trans community. I know I will be.