Aesop might be one of our favourite brands to reach for when it comes to making our skin and hair look its best but now the Australian luxury brand wants to complete the offering and nourish your mind and soul as well.
This February, coinciding with Australia’s two biggest LGBTQ+ pride events – Midsumma Festival in Melbourne and Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Aesop launches their Queer Library initiative that will transform their Paddington store in Sydney and Fitzroy location in Melbourne into libraries that highlight the works of LGBTQ+ authors, writers and stories.
“The Aesop Queer Library has been curated through recommendations from our retail and office teams of their most loved Queer authors and titles, alongside a collaborative selection process with our Queer bookstore partners, Hares & Hyenas in Melbourne and The Bookshop in Sydney,” says Preet Bains, Aesop’s General Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
“Aesop has always found inspiration in literature and sought opportunities to promote the written word—throughout our 35 year history we have frequently celebrated prose and poetry as a means to touch the mind just as much as touching one’s skin with our products. The Queer Library will continue this tradition with a particular emphasis on the varied experiences of the Queer community in Australia, harnessing literature’s unique power to unite, liberate and empower.”
Having already taken place in New York, Taiwan, the UK and Canada, this will the first time the Queer Library will be hosted in Australia.
All Aesop products will be stripped from the shelf and in their place will be placed books which will be available FOR FREE. Correct, the books will be free.
The importance of this kind of program, both in its platforming of queer writers but also providing the space for queer readers to discover voices within their community, cannot be underestimated.
As someone who leans slightly towards the rainbow end of the Kinsey scale and found themselves at a school that wasn’t the most supportive of difference, books were the lifeline that gave me a peek at a world larger than the one I was in.
More than family, more than friends even, books provided the words I – and many, many other young people trying to figure out their place in the world – didn’t know I needed to help frame what I was trying to understand.
That connection can be lifesaving in the way it reminds you: you’re not alone.
Aesop have partnered with incredibly diverse group of talents from the queer community to bring this project to life, right purchasing all the books to be involved from queer-owned businesses (Hares & Hyenas in Melbourne and The Bookshop in Darlinghurst).
Some of authors you can expect to find on the shelves at Aesop are Benjamin Law, Indigenous author Gary Lonesborough and Jazz Money, a poet and filmmaker of Wiradjuri heritage, are among those to be spotlighted.
Transgender writer and historian Dr Yves Rees and author Ellen van Neerven, of Mununjali and Dutch heritage, will also be showcased as part of the initiative, which aims to demonstrate the ability of literature to unite, liberate and empower.
“There is something very special about the tactility of a physical book that we will always find endearing,” says Bains. “The smell, the texture of the pages and the feeling of reading an old, weathered book, knowing it has touched many minds, hearts and hands over the course of its lifetime. Digital has simply offered another means to get into the wonderful world of literature, which is, for many, more convenient and indeed more accessible.”
Did we mention that the books ARE FREE.
Yes, the books are free.
The event will take place across two dates – Fitzroy will host the Queer Library from 2-6 February and Paddington will pick it up from 23 February until 1 March.
And the books are free!
242 Gertrude Street
Fitzory VIC 3065
3a Glenmore Road
Paddington NSW 2021