Heckin’ Unicorn is a gay-owned brand that makes stylish accessories
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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) meets Yu Sheng to talk about his brand Heckin’ Unicorn (@heckin.unicorn). Heckin’ Unicorn is a Singapore based company, gay owned brand that makes a variety of stylish pride accessories, from socks to pins!
Yu Sheng was inspired to launch Heckin’ Unicorn after feeling uninspired by the existing range 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 depicted cute animals or inanimate objects emblazoned with different LGBTQIA+ colors. “But, of course, over time the designs started to become less and less subtle,” Yu Sheng recalls. “We 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 although they are constantly releasing new products, Heckin’ Unicorn designs are always playful and positive, serving as a celebration of the diversity of 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 pronoun The brooch is quite different from most other brooch 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’ll 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 weird problems, 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 earring designs. 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.
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