23 June 2020

We Stand with You (BLM)

After the global outrage caused by the unlawful killing of George Floyd in the US, major organisations across all sectors of the society are upgrading their diversity and inclusion strategies.

The impact has also been felt in the creative industries across the UK.

Once again, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities have raised their voices to oppose racism and support equal rights in the fashion industry.

The BAME creative community has come a long way with campaigning for these issues and bringing awareness in everyday life.

However, there is still a huge gap in diversity and inclusion that needs to be eliminated. This is where we can all play a nurturing role in our workspace and organisations.

“I was told that ‘I should shave all my hair off so I can look like the other black models’ which would ‘help my career’. At the time I couldn’t believe what I was being advised to do in order for me to succeed. I politely said I will never cut my hair because black girls look beautiful with or without hair. In order for me to get work, to survive, I found myself conforming to ‘fit in’ with industry standards” Sienna King, model*

In our creative economy, we should stand for racial justice, respect and support towards each other’s cultures, beliefs and aspirations.

“I do hope that one day a young black person can see an industry where they are welcome, where their ideas are listened to, are employed and promoted not to fit a quota but because of their talent and experience. To know that diversity is more than just a headline.” Iremide Ife-Alabi, Strategic Partnership Executive at Matchesfashion*

We hope this message comes across as a wake up call for the global fashion industry to acknowledge the need of diversity and inclusion in order to have a better and more fair representation in our industry.

* The quotes above are taken from the article What it’s really like to be black in the fashion industry?, edited by Bemy Shaw for The Guardian, and published on 18 June 2020.

**UAL: University of the Arts London has published a statement in response to the murder of George Floyd.