Diversity and inclusion are not a fad

Jun 17, 2020
Written by
Valerie Emanuel
Photographed by
Tim Mossholder
I

t was the first week in June when my heart broke into a million pieces. George Floyds death and the resulting protests have led to conversations which were eye-opening and long overdue. These discussions focused on what we could do to uplift underrepresented communities. Alot of influencers came under heat for continuing to go on with their daily lives as others felt their pain was being ignored and space on the internet algorithm was going, again, to maily white creators.

The reason we need to ask influencers and fashion brands to check themselves right now is because if we want to be truly anti-racist and if we want to make the world a more just place, then we need to work harder to attract more diverse talent in the industry to help build generational wealth and opportunity for those who were left out of main steam conversations for decades. Some peoples whose ideas have been taken, with little to no opportunity to benefit without financial resources.

A lot of arguments I have heard go like this “I really want to have a more diverse team but I just can’t find the right talent!” Inviting diversity into your life is not easy, but here are some ideas to drive positive change.

  1. Use local resources - Reach out to community colleges with Black or Latino Student Union for example and ask members to advertise your position or internship in their network.
  2. Be open minded - requirements for specific education background, socio-economic standing, etc. can be flexible to create a more well rounded team
  3. Stay generous and kind - Help fund job training programs and chances for internships. The majority of jobs usually don’t happen in rural and lower income communities so we should be willing to engage community centers and job placement centers in these areas.

No one is asking that teams that are predominantly white need to be replaced by people of color. What’s important is that the next time you need to hire a contractor, filmmaker, or freelance designer, consider using someone out of your usual network. Consider giving someone new a chance. Having a diverse team fills gaps in your business. It has been proven time and time again that a diverse team gives you a competitive advantage! By having varying opinions you can know what different consumer groups really think, what really speaks to your customers individually, and what speaks to us as a whole.

I encourage everyone in the fashion industry to reach out to one another to see where they lack and where they can pick up the slack. I also think the love that larger brands and influencers have been giving to brands that are black owned right now is an amazing way to show support, economically and emotionally. We are all in this together, and we can all help uplift one another if we step outside of our comfort zones.

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