Everyone's tired of waiting for change. On Jun. 2, when the CFDA came together to discuss the much-needed transformations within the fashion industry, it only took two days for the members to erect a comprehensive plan of action. On Jun. 4, the CFDA announced a new inclusivity initiative in response to the state of racial injustice in the U.S. — and it's as manifold as you'd expect.
In the committee's heartfelt statement, the CFDA announced four bullet points for enacting lasting, meaningful change. The first detailed an in-house employment program, which would identify Black creatives and match them with open jobs throughout the industry. By actively ensuring all departments are more racially balanced, this program aims to ensure the rooms we work in better reflect the world we live in. A mentorship and internship program will also be established, giving Black students and graduates greater access to hard-to-reach opportunities in the fashion world. Third, a Diversity and Inclusion training program will be implemented and made available for all CFDA members; and, fourth, the CFDA will make purposeful donations to organizations who have expertise in creating opportunities for the Black community, including the NAACP and Campaign Zero.
"Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry and hatred is the ﬁrst step, but this is not enough," shared an official statement from the CFDA, signed by Tom Ford (CFDA Chairman) and Steven Kolb (CFDA President and CEO). This response comes after several fashion houses' mixed responses to the losses in the Black community have received criticism. Many released statements expressing solidarity with those grieving and publicly denouncing racism, while failing to follow up with actionable next-steps or relevant donations. "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," the statement read.
While the current moment around BLM has galvanized brands small and large, several industry giants continue to delay on actionable next steps. The best approach has often proved to be the most holistic ones — showing solidarity is a first step, but it's best matched by a promise to uphold these values internally, and, if possible, a concurrent donation to a relevant organization benefitting the Black community. The CFDA's response provides a veritable roadmap for brands looking for the best ways to react to the present moment in a meaningful way, as well as an exciting promise of change to start looking forward to.