The Black in Fashion council launches to tackle systemic industry racism

With partners including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Glossier, Depop, and Gap

Back in June, Teen Vogue editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner and PR specialist Sandrine Charles announced the Black in Fashion Council, an organisation created to advocate for and secure the advancement of Black people in fashion. While its external image is of a progressive industry, bolstered by increasingly representative campaign images, fashion remains a notoriously racist environment for people of colour – with many coming forward in the weeks since George Floyd’s murder to share their experiences.

“As an industry, we cannot continue to claim that we are progressive if we are not working to force diversity and inclusion in corporate structures while rectifying systemically racist policies that have permeated our industry for hundreds of years,” the duo say on the BIFC website.

To start to rectify that systemic racism, in June they announced plans to work with the Human Rights Campaign to create an equality index score for brands. Partners who sign up – so far including Gap, Calvin Klein, Depop, Glossier, Tommy Hilfiger, and The Real Real – to commit to foster the advancement of Black employees, will have their progress tracked for three years. This progress will be available in a public report – the first of which will arrive in autumn 2021.

“We want to encourage people in the industry to rise to the occasion, not just be called out so that we can see sustained, long-term change,” they say.

In addition to the brands, Black fashion professionals can apply for membership to join “a resilient group of editors, models, stylists, media executives, assistants, freelance creatives, and industry stakeholders” including Garage fashion director Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, i-D fashion director Carlos Nazario, costume designer Shiona Turini, influencer and photographer Tamu McPherson, and many other names across a variety of industry categories. 

Black people in fashion wishing to join can apply here. You can donate to help fund the Black in Fashion Council’s work here, and follow them on Instagram here