Fashion Brands Standing Up Against Discrimination, But When And How Are They Implementing Diversity?

It is 2020, and I still keep asking myself what is going to happen next within the fashion industry as far as diversity. With Black Own Brands like Off-White, Fe Noel, Nubian Skin, Pyer Moss, MWR Collection, Cushnie, LaQuan Smith, Stella Jean, Ozwald Boateng, Fenty, and Fear of God, change is coming our way. But, what about those still operating with a lack of diversity across all company operations? Recently a discrete number of brands have been targeted and questioned if they stand against discrimination, and deliver up-to-the standards of their public statements or it is simply camouflaging a secrete agenda. Some Instagram users responded -disappointed to say the less- asking if they stand with the cause or if it was some viral sympathy, suggesting that a donation might help more than words. Celine has fallen under the questionable detector, accused by a Fashion Blogger to be the least diverse brand in the industry.

Alice + Olivia

As a CEO, Stacey Bendet has been married to woman empowerment and has pushed for equality, including closing the salary gap. In 2017, Alice + Olivia launched a t-shirt collection promoting equal pay, teaming up with organizations like the Global Fund for Woman, donating 10% of the total proceeds to this and similar organizations. Bendet’s recent post on Instagram came with a powerful message, soothing her followers heart, giving them hope amidst the times. The caption reads the following, As a CEO and founder, I realize it is my responsibility more than ever to encourage diversity in all parts of our company. I encourage all companies to do the same. We need to proactively provide more opportunities for the black community and all the people of colour. We need to listen and we need to act! 

As inspired and proud anyone could feel for this call for change, Instagram users like @denise.michele shares the same questions all of us are still asking ourselves. When is this change going to happen? Stacey is a woman of action and empowerment, she will not stop just there -as she has proven many times before- coming with a concrete diversity plan for Alice + Olivia in the nearby future… It is a matter of time now.

Miista 

Miista, a shoe brand designed in London, made in Spain, fell in the hand of confused followers after their post of a black model posing and promoting the brand’s shoes. Some call them opportunists, thinking about selling their product in a capitalist fashion. Although, Miista did not stop themselves, and responded to comments by stating the model has been their friends for more than four years, and that their work ethic it is all about believing in genuine and long-lasting work relationships. In reality, it is true. Miista has a positive history of including the model for years and has no plans to stop.

Ralph Lauren, An Example To Follow

Ralph Lauren celebrated heterogeneity since 2003, counting with a diversity council who monitors from conceptual sketches, talent recruitment, employee satisfaction, production, worldwide facilities, without leaving behind that their in-store operations are align to corporate ideals. The company -and the designer- recognized the importance of cultural consciousness at every level of responsibility. The label is highly commemorated for including a disability awareness table to help the design team acknowledge opportunities. Ralph Lauren also counts with a significant portion of women working for the company, making at least 50% of the entire operation. He accepts that diversity is always a constant work in progress, which sometimes is not perfect, but as long as the label is in the right track, everything is achievable. 

Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya

This collaboration was striking with a rate of 98% of models of colour down the runway. There were inclusivity and diversity, the recipe of modern dreams come true, becoming a huge breakthrough for the fashion industry. Although, the collection was inspired in the 70’s glam, the venue took place in Harlem, NY, an area best known for jazz-clubs, soul food, and African-American heritage. Tommy Hilfiger has collaborated not only with designers like Zendaya, also, he also collaborated with Lewis Hamilton, a black race car driver from the UK.

Bryan Boy Dismantling Celine’s Instagram Post

Bryan Boy, a Philippine fashion blogger, did not sit down this one on the bench. He made it clear how the French ready-to-wear brand only had empty promises, exposing their lack of diversity in -not only one- but two a humorous video. Celine it is mostly know for having a 6% or less of POC models down their runway.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Multiple fashion houses are under the magnifying glass, especially French Brands. The Instagram community is ready to ask the questions necessary to make sure these brands comply with their promise of diversity and inclusivity. After all, the POC still finds difficulties, racism and profiling after every single job interview, especially in fashion. More than being outstandingly outrageous, this is the same old 1950’s American fashion industry, honestly we have to start running in the opposite direction of that. Action needs to be taken immediately, more models of colours, more woman and POC sitting at boards, and especially a place at their retail stores at the front of house and not hiding in the stockroom! Only time and action will tell…