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Want to wear your LGBTQIA+ pride on your sleeve? Or maybe on the lapel of your jacket? Designer Yu Sheng Teo has what you need! In this episode of Pink Money, host Teraj (@teraj08) sits down with Yu Sheng to talk about his brand Heckin’ Unicorn (@heckin.unicorn). Heckin’ Unicorn is a Singapore-based, gay-owned brand that makes a variety of stylish pride accessories, from socks to pins!
Yu Sheng was inspired to start Heckin’ Unicorn after feeling uninspired by the existing line of pride accessories. “It started as a side project,” the company owner told Teraj. “I had seen a few pride pins and pride merchandising designs and to be honest they all looked like pride flags, just in different shapes. So I started designing pins.
At first, Heckin’ Unicorn’s pins were subtle. Many featured cute animals or inanimate objects sporting different LGBTQIA+ colors. “But, of course, over time the designs started to become less and less subtle,” Yu Sheng recalls. “We’ve had a lot of pronoun pins and ‘Queer AF’ designs that aren’t really so subtle anymore.”
Today, Heckin’ Unicorn sells a wide range of pins, socks and other accessories. But while they constantly release new products, Heckin’ Unicorn’s designs are always playful and positive, serving as a celebration of the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Yu Sheng tells Teraj that he likes to make clever puns when designing his pins. “A lot of pin designs are based on puns and jokes,” he explains. “An example of a pun, I suppose, is the pancake pin. He sports the colors of pansexual pride, but to the average person he looks like a pancake. We have a bi bike hairpin. And, again, it’s a pun on the word bi, and it just has bi pride colors.
Other Heckin’ Unicorn designs aim to make members of the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe. “It’s the ‘They/Them’ pin,” Yu Sheng said, holding a pin engraved with the words “They/Them.” “The idea of the pronoun pin is quite different from most other pin designs. It should be obvious. Showing our pronouns is a really easy way to show that this is a safe space, you can tell me your pronouns, and I will respect that.
In addition to designing stylish accessories, Yu Sheng uses her platform to speak out on issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. “Heckin’ Unicorn is actually quite vocal when it comes to queer issues, especially those in Singapore,” says the small business owner. “We will publish articles that really highlight a specific and tangible way in which we are discriminated against by the state. Behind the article we publish, behind every statement we make, it’s like months of research and a lot of thought behind it, to make sure we only publish things that are accurate and correct.
Yu Sheng tells Teraj that pins and socks are just the start of Heckin’ Unicorn. The brand, he explains, has a bright future with many exciting new products in the pipeline. “So we have just launched our first models of earrings. It’s quite exciting,” he says. “And earlier this year, we also just launched our first backpack model. There will be more designs and products we release throughout the year, so stay tuned for that.
The post Heckin’ Unicorn is a gay-owned brand appearing in stylish accessories for the first time on In The Know.
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