Sunday, June 23, 2024
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When muralist and illustrator Sofie Birkin began sketching designs for the new Starbucks drinkware collection through the Artist Collaboration program, her goal was to create moments that feel both genuine and relatable. “As a queer artist, I aim to craft pieces that are empowering and accessible to a diverse audience,” Birkin explained. “I want people to instantly recognize that this is by us and for us.”

Birkin’s collection is the latest in Starbucks’ Artist Collaboration program, which highlights and celebrates the voices and stories of artists worldwide. Her hot and cold tumblers will be available in Starbucks stores across the United States and Canada.

Birkin frequently incorporates meaningful moments with LGBTQIA2+ characters in her work, including an immersive installation at Denver’s Meow Wolf Convergence Station and the U.K. Royal Mail’s first collection of Pride stamps. “I enjoy illustrating human connections,” Birkin said. “I love depicting how people interact with each other.”

Her collection also showcases a love for color and kitsch. “My home is filled with tiny, delightful items,” she shared. “I aim to create objects that people can enjoy every time they see them. I hope this collection brings a bit of that joy to everyone.”

The first piece Birkin designed was a vibrant 24-ounce stainless steel cold cup, featuring a Pride march with a rainbow flag and a swirling pink and red straw. “This is an important time to reflect on our history, protest, and progress,” Birkin said. “This design is celebratory, encouraging conversations between friends.”

Another piece, a 16-ounce stainless steel tumbler, captures nostalgic objects such as sunglasses, instant photos, lip balm, astrology pins, a sew-on patch, and gummy bears. “I love working with nostalgia,” Birkin said. “I like creating pieces where the era is ambiguous.”

A 24-ounce studded plastic cold cup tumbler features a double rainbow with a colorful spectrum on the cup’s exterior and a swirly rainbow straw. A playful cupid adds a touch of whimsy. “I’m a romantic at heart,” she said. “I love adding these elements.”

The 16-ounce plastic tumbler, inspired by a sticker-covered water bottle, includes Pride flags, sunglasses, a rainbow, flowers, and a dog wearing a bandana. “I had fun with this design, thinking about Pride season,” Birkin said. “It feels joyful and exciting.”

Building a Culture of Inclusion:

Starbucks partners (employees) have always influenced and inspired the company’s support for the LGBTQIA2+ community. Starbucks is dedicated to supporting and celebrating LGBTQIA2+ partners and communities every day, offering inclusive health coverage, partner-inspired community investments, and advocacy for civil rights and equality. The company collaborates with nonprofit organizations to provide resources and support allyship and has awarded over $1.5 million from The Starbucks Foundation in the U.S. and Canada since 2019 to support LGBTQIA2+ organizations.

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