- The world of fashion has long been criticized for its lack of racial diversity, as well as toxic, racist, and exclusionary behavior within specific labels.
- Vogue reported that the newly-formed Black in Fashion Council will push for change within the industry with an annual score grading fashion companies’ commitment to diversity.
- “As a collective, we envision a world in which black people in fashion and beauty spaces can be open and honest, guaranteed equal rights, and be celebrated for our voices,” an online statement from the Black in Fashion Council said.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The summer of 2020 has brought about a reckoning over racism around the world, fueled by mass protests over police killings of Black men, women, and children in the United States. The push for change has also seeped into the world of business, as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color take employers to task for abusive and exclusionary behavior in the workplace.
The drive for change has spread to the world of fashion. And a group of Black fashion professionals have banded together to form the Black in Fashion Council, an organization that seeks to push for inclusion and representation in their industry.
Even as individual Black designers, models, and fashion icons make strides, fashion has long been the target of criticism over racist and exclusionary practices. In the past two years, major labels like Prada and Gucci came under fire for blackface incidents. The CEO of trendy clothing brand Reformation just stepped down over allegations of racial discrimination in the workplace. The Associated Press reported that fashion brands experienced major blowback over social media posts supporting Black Lives Matter that were deemed as hypocritical.
Amidst the backlash against fashion brands, Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Sandrine Charles Consulting founder Sandrine Charles established the Black in Fashion Council. The group has posted a statement on its website saying that the “was founded to represent and secure the advancement of Black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry.” The Black in Fashion Council did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
“As a collective, we envision a world in which black people in fashion and beauty spaces can be open and honest, guaranteed equal rights, and be celebrated for our voices,” the statement said.
Vogue reported that the group plans to publish annual reports and assign fashion brands an industry-wide equality index score with help from the Human Rights Campaign. Brands will be able to sign on to the campaign and pledge to work toward greater inclusivity over the next three years.
“The Human Rights Campaign already has a Corporate Equality Index for people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community that companies like Kering are already a part of,” Peoples Wagner told Vogue. “This would be a way to continue to give companies a report card of accountability without them feeling like they’re being shamed into it, and giving them the actual resources of what people are saying they want to see changed.”
The Human Rights Campaign currently runs a Corporate Equality Index that rates companies’ policies regarding LGBTQ employees. On its website, the campaign said its 2020 index featured 686 major businesses that were rated as the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Criteria for Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 index will include workforce protections, benefits, culture and corporate social responsibility, and outreach efforts.
“While we are working on our end, we encourage people in the industry to rise to the occasion to sustain long-term change,” the Black in Fashion Council said in its online statement.