Black fashion professionals still face widespread discrimination, according to new report

·2-min read
Photo credit: Instagram
Photo credit: Instagram

"Black professionals face widespread discrimination and prejudice — a testament to the fashion industry’s historically racist and exclusionary nature," reads the first Black in Fashion Council Human Rights Campaign report.

The report looked at 30 different companies which varied in size, who all remain anonymous. It aimed to measure company policies and practices related to the inclusivity of Black employees.

All those involved took part in a survey responding to questions about their current diversity, equity and inclusion policies and practices – and the findings were conclusive in the discrimination that Black people face in the fashion industry.

"Fashion has long upheld white supremacist ideologies, and has created and glorified standards of beauty and artistic expression that are explicitly anti-Black," the report said.

The report will now take place annually, and the 30 companies involved have all taken the Black In Fashion Pledge, which is a three-year commitment to keep taking part. The Black in Fashion Council and its partners will also help brands to create strategies and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion for Black people working in the fashion community.

According to the report, Black consumers contribute to the economy in a major way, spending around $1.3 trillion each year. "Although Blackness is often commodified for profit, Black people, Black experiences, and Black voices are rarely given a non-performative platform in the fashion industry," the report explained, adding that "their talents, ideas and passions are stolen, misused and appropriated".

The Black In Fashion co-founder, Lindsay Peoples Wagner said that the report reflects "the vital work we have been doing behind the scenes to ensure that companies are putting inclusive policies into practice".

"So many companies have realised in the past year that it is not enough to post a black square or to post a quote on MLK Day — the work that we are invested in requires an infrastructural and culture change from companies to intensely interrogate their values and priorities when it comes to DEI."

You can read more on the report here.

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