CFDA launching initiatives to combat systemic racism in fashion

Members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are launching new initiatives to help fight systemic racism in the industry.In the wake of the shocking death of African-American man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers o…

Members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are launching new initiatives to help fight systemic racism in the industry.

In the wake of the shocking death of African-American man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers on 25 May, numerous anti-racism protests have taken place across the U.S. and in major cities around the world.

Now, in response to the demonstrations, CFDA chairman Tom Ford and CFDA president and chief executive officer Steven Kolb have announced that the organisation will be employing new measures to help combat injustice within the fashion industry.

“Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry and hatred is the first step, but this is not enough,” they stated. “This is a deeply disturbing moment that speaks to us all. Our world is in deep pain. Our industry is in pain and it is not enough to simply say that we stand in solidarity with those who are discriminated against. We must do something.”

Effective immediately, the CFDA is creating an in-house employment programme specifically charged with placing black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially-balanced industry, and will be founding a new mentorship and internship programme focused on students and recent graduates. Ford and Kolb will also be implementing a diversity and inclusion training programme for all members, and are making donations to civil rights organisations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Campaign Zero.

“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,” they concluded.

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