racism in the fashion industry

Why CFDA’s statement on racism in the fashion industry is exactly what we needed

Donations, inclusiveness trainings and employee trainings are just a few steps the CFDA will undertake to lessen racism within the fashion industry. They issued a powerful statement and it’s exactly what we needed. “Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry, and hatred is the first step, but it is not enough.”
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Racism in the fashion industry

No one can longer deny that black lives matter, nor that racism is a serious topic that needs to stop. Unfortunately, this “small dick energy” (see Instagram post below) is institutionalized in many industries, of which the fashion industry is just the top of the iceberg.

CFDA’s statement

In an official statement, “An important message from the chairman and president & CEO”, they elaborate on a board meeting they had on June 2nd. Within this meeting, the board discussed the topic that has become more relevant than the coronavirus. Something we couldn’t have predicted a couple of weeks ago. The board acknowledges the fact that just speaking up about the topic is inadequate: “Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry, and hatred is the first step, but it is not enough. […] We must do something“, they stated.

In line with this, they undertake some immediate actions:

  • The CFDA will create an in-house employment program specifically charged with placing Black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry.
  • They will create a mentorship program and an internship program focused on placing Black students.
  • The CFDA will implement and make available to our members a Diversity and Inclusion training program.
  • They will make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at equalizing the playing field for the Black community such as, but not limited to the NAACP and Campaign Zero.

Read the entire statement here, as signed by Tom Ford.

Much needed changes

The power of this statement lies within its message to CFDA members. Chairman Tom Ford closed the statement with the words: “We urge each and every member of the CFDA to take stock of their corporate structure to ensure that they have a racially balanced workforce and we challenge the retail sector of the fashion industry to ensure that their roster of brands and their product assortment is representative of the Black talent within the industry.” With these closing words, Ford urges its members to take action. It simply isn’t enough to post a black square and to stand behind those who need it. Fashion companies need to undertake action in a visible way. Not just by hiring the next Black top model, who meets the ‘White’ standards (small hips, size zero, and so on). Like Ford said: Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice is the first step, but it is not enough.

Must read: Why it’s ridiculous that we still have to talk about “Black Lives Matter” in 2020 and what you can do about it