The fashion tide is turning.
The recently announced Black in Fashion Council are taking great strides by setting out to actively diversify the fashion industry. A lot has been said in recent weeks of the need for an overhaul and restructuring on all levels of fashion and branding to fairly represent and support black creatives.The current social climate in the midst of police brutality, injustices against black people, has ignited demand for corporate and institutional change. Fashion is not exempt. The Council, set to launch in July, are leading conscious and actionable efforts to make sure it happens.
The initiative is spearheaded by Teen Vogue Editor-In-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Public Relations Consultant and humanitarian Sandrine Charles (Sandrine Charles Consulting, UnicefNextGen). They – in their own words – founded the initiative to “represent and secure the advancement of black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry”. It will bring to the forefront the views, ideas and leading “voices” on “inclusivity” from a wealth of industry game changers. The council will comprise some 400 “editors, models, stylists, media executives, assistants, freelance creatives and industry stake holders. The Council will work alongside brands to actualize accountability, using an annual index score to measure the diversity of a company’s internal structure for example. Their work is expected to reach across the board, with specific groups of members assigned to various departments & levels of corporations and brands.
The timing of the launch of this initiative is necessary, if not perfect. The urgency for something like this cannot be understated. Especially considering the announcement of its launch follow recent revelations from black employees and their experiences in the fashion workplace. Many told of the pay discrepancies and underpayment in comparison to their white counterparts. Others spoke out about being overworked, unrepresented, culturally appropriated and ridiculed supposedly “in jest”. Leading black professionals in fashion are continually being shortchanged when it comes to job opportunities. So many are overqualified (no fault of their own, and should never be condemned) and uncredited for their contributions in the positions that they are capped at. It’s also not hard to find a black influencer who was told there was no brand partnership budget, being haggled to accept a lowball offer….
Black in Fashion Council has set out the plan to change this, essentially building a platform to champion inclusion, whilst promoting and encouraging discourse on these issues. Perhaps, a step towards re-education and implementable advice in the industry, instead of cycles of cancelling brands.
Something like this is set to ensure the fashion and beauty playing field is prepared, in check and in line for black designers, creators and team members. Essentially, it is a refreshing and inspiring call to action for both black people and allies to “rise to the occasion to sustain long-term change”.