Campaign Calls on Fashion Brands to Increase Racial Diversity

Fashion Minority Report
Photo: Courtesy of @natascha.lindemann

In the weeks following the death of George Floyd, hundreds of fashion brands have posted on social media declaring their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. While allyship is an important part of the fight, a new campaign is asking fashion companies to take action to tackle inequality in terms of race and gender in the workforce.

The Fashion Minority Report, launched by menswear designer Daniel Peters, asks brands to pledge to increase diversity by 5% and join its Diverse Talent Support Program in partnership with the Creative Mentor Network. According to the report, currently, 11% of jobs in the ‘creative economy’ are filled by BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) workers, but this figure should be at least 17.8% if it is to reflect the UK population at large.

Peters believes that given the current climate, there is “no better” time than now to push for reform. “Consumers and industry professionals alike are calling on the fashion companies that they work for and shop with to foster an inclusive environment both front and back of the house,” he says. “Having worked in the fashion industry for over a decade now, changes have been made, but there are still huge strides to make for us to ensure that all levels of the business are diverse, from junior and senior roles, right through to the boardroom,” he adds.

Once firms have committed to the pledge, the report sets out the next steps they need to take in terms of hiring practices.

“Our three-step office equality pledge offers a simple and robust solution for brands to adopt a manageable change that will really make a difference to existing team members and for any prospective employees who join the company,” Peters says.

“Beyond an increase of 5% representation, the pledge gives space for a future generation of young POC and female professionals to see the possibility of a fashion future whilst gaining experience and professional support.”

The designer, who is the founder of menswear brand Your Samples Collective and has previously worked at Burberry and the British Fashion Council, says that fashion labels would do well to follow in the footsteps of beauty companies like MAC. “MAC Cosmetics is a brand that has really heard the calls from the POC community in recent weeks and responded with a strategy that implements real change. Closer to home, I’ve heard of companies putting together diversity committees, which are a great start. However, more can be done to enact change and better support minority groups,”  he said.

Members of the public are also encouraged to support the campaign by adding their signature on the Fashion Minority Report website and encouraging their favorite retailers and designers to sign up.

“This isn’t about cancel culture,” Peters says. “But by calling on the brands that we invest our personal funds into, to be transparent about issues such as this, we can work together collectively to reform the fashion industry and foster a more equal environment.”

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