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Black in Fashion Council Founders Talk Accountability Culture + More – Footwear News

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As nationwide unrest surrounding racial injustice continues, two fashion industry thought leaders are demanding companies within the space do better by Black professionals. To ensure progress is made, they have created a council to hold businesses accountable.

The Black in Fashion Council, created by Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and communications consultant Sandrine Charles, was founded to help the advancement of Black men and women in the fashion and beauty industry. However, the group isn’t intended to simply call out companies who may be underperforming. Instead, the goal is to encourage stepping up to deliver long-term change for the better.

To accomplish this, the Black in Fashion Council has outlined a set of lofty goals once it launches next month, starting with asking companies to work with the council for three years and commit to the inclusion of Black people within their organizations.

The Black in Fashion Council will subsequently issue a three-month progress report and survey executives in order to evaluate the council’s four pillars (Human Resources, Talent Inclusion, Support and Corporate Spend). Those findings will lead to the eventual release of a company’s Quality Index Score Report.

Despite the heavy lifting to get the council up and running, Charles said she is optimistic and confident change for the better will come. “In recent weeks, I feel inspired,” Charles said. “Lindsey and I have been having amazing conversations with our peers and industry leaders, and I really think that we have a great chance of making incredible change.”

For Peoples Wagner, the effort to get the Black in Fashion Council off the ground has already been worth it.

“My eyes are always on the prize, and the prize is inclusivity in a real way in this industry,” she said. “It’s a lot of things at one time, but we’re doing really important work and I’m happy with the strides that we’re making.”

Below, Charles and Peoples Wagner discuss the goals of the council and the difference between “accountability culture” and “cancel culture.”

What is the Black in Fashion Council? 

Sandrine Charles: “The counsel of the collaborative collective of industry professionals. Essentially we are looking to create systematic change to ensure long-term change among various categories in our industry. We’re trying to encourage people in the industry to rise to the occasion. While we noticed that a lot of other times people are being called out, we actually want to be partners in change. With strategy, realistic timelines and commitment, we are looking to align with brands and companies moving forward.”

What are the goals of the council?

Lindsay Peoples Wagner: “We split it up into different areas based on everyone’s expertise, their platform, influence and network of where they’re at in the industry and how they could be best used as a resource to everyone else. The biggest thing that I’ve been telling everyone is that I always think of myself as trying to be a ladder and pull up other Black people behind me. What we’re trying to do in this is make that collective experience a reality for everyone, so that if you were a new designer and you’re like, ‘I really need help with funding, where do I go? Who do I talk to?’ You would be able to have resources and contacts and actual help. And we’re trying to make sure that brands are actually being held accountable and making progress forward. All of the executive board members are people who are gonna be liaising with these brands, industry stakeholders and companies, who say, ‘We’ve worked with you before, we love fashion, here’s the specific changes that need to happen.’ In the past, there’ve been too many blanket statements of ‘We need inclusivity and we need progression,’ but there are so many specific, nuanced changes that need to happen if you’re an editor versus being a stylist versus being an influencer.”

How, if at all, have recent events accelerated the launch?

SC: “I don’t think that recent events have accelerated us launching this. Lindsay wrote an amazing piece for The Cut two years ago, and I was one of the people included in the final story, which were accounts from Black people of their experience in the fashion industry. This has been something that has been in fruition way before that story. Lindsay and I are very strategic people. We don’t want to just say things. We want to work on results. This was an opportunity for us to align with our peers, create a strategy and an advisory board, and come up with a plan that can work for every brand and company to promote and enhance their equality system internally — and externally. I think that it applies for how they work with their teams, what agencies and partners do they hire and where this moves forward.”

LPW: “It’s been something that we’ve been having conversations about, but that’s kind of the point of doing it now, because there’ve been so many siloed conversations about the progression of Black people in fashion. And what we want to do is [create] an open forum and have these conversations together. Let’s have these conversations not just with our friends but with other people in the industry we may not be as close with, so that we can move forward and [find] strength in numbers and a sense of unity.”

What is the difference between cancel culture and accountability culture?

LPW: “What we’ve experienced in fashion is already presenting the narratives of what it is like to be black in fashion and in calling out brands. A lot of the conversations that specifically Sandrine and I have had is, ‘Where’s the longevity in this? How do we move forward from just saying X, Y and Z brand, you didn’t do this, or you put out this bad campaign. How do we make sure that there’s long, sustainable change?’ That’s the idea for us building relationships with the Black in Fashion Council, with [companies signing] on to work with the council for three years, having direct connections with the board, being part of an equality corporate index to have a fair way of saying that you want to be held accountable. But it’s more so presented as a progress report. We’re not shaming you and saying we’re canceling and we’re not going to support this brand. Instead, it’s ‘We want to work with you and give you the tools and resources and have these conversations, where you don’t feel like you have to be on the defense.’ And then let’s assess where you are, assess where the industry is [and find] the areas where you’re doing really well and the areas where you have to improve. That encourages people to want to change and want to rise to the occasion instead of being shamed into it.”

What resources will the council provide to companies to help them initiate change?

LPW: “A lot of different things will be announced, but it’s too soon for us to tell the public. We are focused on making sure that there will be resources for people not only in the industry, but also within the council, for mentoring and coming together, so anyone from an assistant to an executive feels like they’re part of this movement. One of the things that we have talked about is building a directory allowing brands and companies and stakeholders to purchase, so if they’re looking for a new stylist or new people in the industry, they can hire for a certain project. That way there isn’t a block of ‘we don’t know who to hire’ anymore. We’re trying to narrow down the list of what [resources] make the most sense.”

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Fashion

Why and whatever for? 3 ‘ugly’ fashion items the runways seem to love

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Buying “ugly” clothes and actually wearing them, rather than gifting them to our worst enemies: unthinkable?

No, this is a reality. It plays on changing tastes over the last few seasons by bringing back the items which have been said to “ruined our childhoods, even those of our parents”.

All you need to do is stroll through the streets to see the trend. From bicycle shorts to “dad shoes”, here’s a look at the fashion items igniting a debate among the fashion crowd. – AFP Relaxnews

Biker shorts

Kim Kardashian strikes again. The social media star appeared twice during 2018 wearing these – despite their disappearance from public view since the 1980s and 90s – and the fashion world went crazy.

Street style, runways, major brands: bike shorts have been everywhere for over a year, a puzzle for those who had attempted to forget they ever existed.

Read more: Fashion in pictures: The intersection of streetwear and luxury

Love them or hate them, it really depends on the individual. The argument against biker shorts though, is that the clothing should really be left to their original function: outfitting cyclists.

Dad shoes

Women have been opting for flat, comfortable sneakers over stilettos without hesitation for several years now. Their sensational return to grace shows no sign of weakening – the trend is very much on the opposite trajectory.

The problem is that between two pairs of Stan Smiths, Air Jordan Ones or Newport Classics, chunky “dad shoes” have reared their head. Characterised by their outsized soles, they are in keeping with the “heavy” trend of the moment.

Read more: Mules, sandals or flip flops? What are the choice footwear for the current season?

Today, nearly all the fashion brands offer a version and they sell like hotcakes, beginning with Balenciaga’s “Triple S” version priced at close to a thousand dollars.

We constantly ask ourselves how best to wear them. The question some people are asking though: why wear them?

While unisex fashion is definitely taking off, bringing pieces not lacking in style back into view (like classic men’s shirts, which should immediately be incorporated into our closets), dad shoes remain a point of contention.

Sleeveless down jackets and coats

Associated with sportswear for the past several years, the sleeveless “puffer” jacket has made occasional incursions into the fashion universe, though without much success.

While we are all deeply familiar with the ubiquitous versions found in fast-fashion stores, those that dislike the trend have been wearing them underneath their coats, well hidden from the eyes of others.

Comfortably warm, yes, but never to the detriment of style. Except that in recent seasons, sleeveless padded jackets and coats have made it to the runways.

Read more: Should you include tie-dyes into your everyday wardrobe again?

The biggest fashion houses have chosen to reinterpret and give them new life. Longchamp tried to make them as elegant as possible in a sort of cropped version in burnout velvet: admittedly rather tempting.

But do they work? Debatable. One must remember that we’re actually talking about puffy down jackets without sleeves. Without sleeves.

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Peaceful demonstration held at The Fashion Mall at Keystone

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INDIANAPOLIS — A peaceful demonstration was held Saturday at The Fashion Mall at Keystone.

Demonstrators wanted to call attention to ongoing issues of police brutality and what some are saying are unsafe conditions for those working in retails stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 30 people with The We Coalition through the Serving Up Justice initiative took part in a silent sit-in at the mall in solidarity with employees who were walking out of work.

You can read the statement sent to RTV6 from The We Coalition on the demonstration below:

On July 11, 2020 from 12:00pm-1:00pm at the Keystone Fashion Mall, The We Coalition, through our Serving Up Justice initiative, will be conducting a peaceful, silent sit-in in solidarity with a mall-wide employee walk-out. Our demonstration intends to shed light on the ongoing issues of police brutality and the unsafe working conditions experienced by service and retail workers during a global pandemic.

Racial injustice is deeply systemic, while we work in solidarity against police brutality it is important to acknowledge that there is racism present at every level of every societal and economic system.

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting communities of color and the working poor, while this country’s administration is strong-arming state and local governments to reopen their economies. According to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll, nearly 1/3 of Black Americans know someone who has died of Coronavirus. It is too easy for some people to pretend that there is nothing problematic about going to a mall, or going out to eat, or getting a haircut – pretending that everything is normal while the American death toll approaches 140,000.

As the financial provisions from the CARES Act (intended to keep American people and business afloat) fall away, workers are forced into scenarios where they have to choose between risking their health or their financial security. Employers are asking their employees to shoulder the burden of keeping businesses afloat instead of demanding that the government protect its people. This is absolutely unacceptable in the nation with the largest GDP in the world.

We intend to conduct these demonstrations frequently and in different areas around the City of Indianapolis and the surrounding metropolitan area for the foreseeable future or until change happens.

Extra security from the mall was present during the demonstration, but they allowed the demonstration to happen without interruptions, the group tells RTV6.

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Candace Marie Stewart talks her career, diversity in fashion

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  • Candace Marie Stewart is one of fashion’s most desired social media consultants. 
  • After receiving a BA in finance from the University of Arkansas, she went on to obtain an MBA in marketing and finance from Seton Hall University and work at, among others, JPMorgan and Prada.
  • In 2020, Stewart founded Black in Corporate, an organization that seeks to champion Black individuals who work in corporate spaces
  • In an interview with Business Insider, she spoke about her career transitions, diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, and what inspires her to create top-notch social campaigns. 
  • This is part of Business Insider’s “The Style Series,” highlighting fashion entrepreneurs and businesses across the globe.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If Candace Marie Stewart’s life story proves anything, it’s that finance is the perfect background to have in fashion — after all, even fashion is a business.

She was tapped last year to become the head of Social US at Prada and her LinkedIn bio identifies her as working there, but she told Business Insider that she currently works as a social media consultant in the luxury fashion industry. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design — teaching its first graduate-level social media course — and she’s the founder of Black In Corporate, an organization that seeks to champion Black professionals working in corporate America. 

But before trying her hand at all fashion had to offer, she obtained a BA in finance from the University of Central Arkansas and an MBA in marketing and finance from Seton Hall University

Over about a decade afterward, she worked in PR at Alexander Wang, as a manager at JP Morgan Chase, freelance at Lucky Magazine, a market editor at Essence, and in social media at Refinery29, before becoming the senior social media and influencer manager at the late Barneys New York.

In an interview with Business Insider, Stewart talked about her rise to the top of the social media ladder, and how she and other Black professionals in fashion — such as those who created the Black in Fashion Council — are advocating for the equity of Black people, both in fashion and beyond. 

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