The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, coupled with the agitation, paranoia, unrest, and ennui from Covid Quarantine, have produced an explosion of attention on past and present racist practices in the world–and the fashion industry.
Now that the nation has aligned itself with marches and rallying cries to end police brutality and racism in general with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, several fashion brands including Zimmermann, Eugenia Kim (who we wrote about here), Revolve, ban.do, Reformation, and Forward by Elyse Walker have been called out for only paying lip service to the cause. According to comments and confessions from former workers, behind the scenes, these brands are allegedly discriminatory and unfair to their workers and customers of color.
While their social media posts portray that they care about the movement for racial equality, comments left by former employees portend that they don’t walk the walk in real life. Under Elyse Walker’s #BlackLivesMatter Post, @RachMoon wrote, “If black lives matter please make sure your employees are demonstrating that on their social media pages and getting educated before posting.”
In a follow up post on @ElyseWalker‘s page, called Change, an anonymous user (who noticed their comments kept getting deleted so created the name @EwKeepsBlockingMe) wrote,” I’ll be monitoring this post to see if you take it down. You are one of the most racist boutiques that I have worked for. You favored white people over people of color. You treated your employees of color with disrespect.” Read more below:
Revolve, yet another company who admitted to not responding soon enough to the #BlackLivesMatter movement (or being diverse when it came to plucking influencers —something we wrote about in 2018), finally fessed up and said they would be turning inward to rectify the issue and creating a $1 million fund with donations to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Their intentions seem good, and we can only hope that their sentiments are sincere! But we can’t help to think that in a couple weeks, all the brands mentioned above will go back to business as usual.
We’ve all been here before. Vogue’s July 2008 issue included an article called “Is Fashion Racist?” and the opening line included someone rolling their eyes and asking if we were still talking about this. That was in 2008. It’s 2020. People are stuck in their ways and it seems that not much has changed.
But here’s what is changing: Through the power of social media and smartphones, bad behavior has been admonished and exposed. We have choices now, in what we read and where we shop. The power is in our hands and credit cards to determine where and how we spend our money. And we have the power to hold back until a brand has truly shown that they value our dollar.
We’ll be reaching out to many of the brands above to see how we can help them shift and change, if change is truly what they desire.
Until then, check out FashionBombDailyShop.com, a growing E-commerce platform that promotes Designers of All Colors, and caters to all sizes, up to size 5XL. Fashion Bomb Daily and Fashion Bomb Daily Shop truly live and espouse the phrase that Fashion is for Everyone.
Love & Light,
**Main Image: Elie Saab used for Illustration Purposes Only