11 Fashion and Beauty Brands Looking Internally to Support the Black Community

Artwork by Artist and Creative Director Laci Jordan, Instagram: @solacilike

If you weren’t already, it’s time to stan these fashion brands that are taking a stand. Many brands have heard their customers’ passionate voices in response to Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and have taken immediate action. Numerous fashion and beauty brands have contributed financially to Black social justice organizations. However, we’re shining a light on the brands working to improve their internal systems to be more inclusive and diverse. Some brands have established task forces within their ranks to ensure lasting, inclusive action. While others have committed to supporting Black-owned businesses and creatives, while others stand with the 15 Percent Pledge—a minimum of 15% of shelf space will be dedicated to Black-owned businesses moving forward.

We all want to see our values reflected in the brands we patronize. Making internal changes sends an even stronger message that companies have evaluated their business structures and align themselves more closely with the movement by committing to hearing from more diverse voices. Brands that have pledged to make long-term changes to foster inclusion are leading the shift in the industry. This is by no means all that can be done, but it is an essential step toward making a seismic change in the industry.

Victoria Beckham

The fashion designer announced via Instagram that her eponymous label has set up an “internal working group” to review her brand’s teams, casting, suppliers and partners to ensure their long-term actions reflect inclusivity. Additionally, she pledged to provide team training to identify unconscious bias.

Rent the Runway

This designer rental company stands by the 15 Percent Pledge. 15% of the fashion talent includes models, ambassadors, styling talent, photographers, and crews—it supports moving forward and will be from the Black community. The company also has plans to donate $1 million to support Black designers with a significant contribution toward launching fashion brands from those who have not had the capital to do so on their own.

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As we announced last week, we’ve started the important work to enact change within the fashion industry and beyond. Being transparent about where Rent the Runway is today is critical to moving forward. That’s why we’re sharing how we show up to the world across our creative productions, marketing and designer and ambassador communities – and where we want to be. We are proud to have made strides in some areas, and we have much more work to do in others. This is just the start. Inspired by @aurorajames’ #15PercentPledge, we announced that we are focusing on increasing Black representation across our channels and partners, from the models and styling talent we hire, ambassadors we work with and the people we’re representing on our brand channels. We’ve also announced that we’re allocating $1M to support and expand Black brands and designers in our Unlimited Closet – especially new brands that have not had the capital to launch on their own – through design, data and financial resources. We’re committed to use our platform to uplift talented, yet historically underrepresented Black designers to help bring the exposure they deserve. In the coming weeks, we will also pull up and publicly share this same detailed breakdown of RTR leadership team, our Board and our corporate employees. We know we have more work to do, and we own that. We are committed to making our platform as diverse as the community we serve.

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PVH Corp.

The corporation known for its brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger unequivocally denounced systemic racism and aligned itself with the Black community. It established a task force in partnership with BRAAVE (Building Resource for African American Voices and Empowerment) to amplify the voices of its Black employees and ensure it is taking the appropriate steps for change.

Ganni

Contemporary clothing brand Ganni has pledged to provide a platform to support Black-owned businesses and artists on their socials now and in the future. Specifically, the brand has committed to commissioning work from Black creatives to share on their platforms.

CFDA

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. is a not-for-profit trade association that has taken immediate action to further systemic change in the fashion industry. The council plans to create an in-house employment program dedicated to achieving balanced representation in the industry by placing Black creatives with companies in all sectors of the fashion business. The CFDA will also launch an internship program with the goal of placing Black students and recent grads within established fashion companies. Finally, a diversity and inclusion training program will be made available to members. 

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Given the deplorable acts of racism and violence that we have seen play out in our country over this past week, our response as an organization was first and foremost on our minds and in our hearts. Black people in this country are reeling from years of injustice stemming from institutional constructs such as slavery, segregation, mass incarceration, police brutality and economic and voter suppression. The Black community is experiencing anger and frustration on top of the effects of the global pandemic that has hit communities of color the hardest. Having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry and hatred is the first step, but this is not enough. It is not enough to simply say that we stand in solidarity with those who are discriminated against. We must do something. The CFDA outlines initiatives that will immediately be undertaken to create systemic change within our industry: • The CFDA will create an in-house employment program specifically charged with placing Black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. This program will be tasked with identifying Black creatives and pairing these individuals with companies looking to hire. • The CFDA will also create a mentorship program and an internship program focused on placing Black students and recent graduates within established companies in the fashion sector. • The CFDA will implement and make available to our members a Diversity and Inclusion training program. • We will make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at equalizing the playing field for the Black community such as, but not limited to the NAACP and Campaign Zero – amongst others. We urge each and every member of the CFDA to take stock of their corporate structure to ensure that they have a racially balanced workforce and we challenge the retail sector of the fashion industry to ensure that their roster of brands and their product assortment is representative of the Black talent in our industry. Sincerely, Tom Ford, Chairman Steven Kolb, President & CEO #blacklivesmatter

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Glossier

In addition to half a million dollars in donations to organizations “focused on combating racial injustice,” Glossier will be distributing another half a million in grants to Black-owned beauty businesses. $10,000 will be allocated to businesses with plans to launch within the next year. $30,000 for those that have launched in the past year and are looking to grow a customer base. Finally, $50,000 to those that launched over a year ago and are looking to scale operations.

L’Oréal

The cosmetics giant will be establishing an advisory board to lead a long-term initiative. The company took a day (June 9, 2020) to ensure that internal processes and programs are not unintentionally limiting representation in the company and have plans to create a training program to educate employees on unconscious bias, cultural sensitivity, and anti-racism. As the world’s largest beauty manufacturer, L’Oréal can be a catalyst for enormous change in the industry with its efforts.

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Together with our employees across over 35 brands, L’Oréal USA has committed this week to donate more than $500,000 to organizations like the @NAACP, @blklivesmatter, @mnfreedomfund, and @yourrightscamp, among others, all of which are working to combat racism and promote social justice. This is one small step and there is more work to do. ⠀ ⠀ In an e-mail to our 12,000 employees this afternoon, our President & CEO, Stéphane Rinderknech, along with our Chief Diversity Officer, Angela Guy, announced the formation of a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board that will include diverse voices from inside and outside the organization and develop a comprehensive, company-wide action plan on anti-racism. ⠀ ⠀ This Advisory Board will be responsible for guiding a long-term strategy and coordinating an action plan organized around three core pillars: ⠀ • Employee Engagement & Internal Change – On Tuesday, June 9th, our company will observe a Day of Understanding, which will kick off an ongoing series of structured internal discussions. We intend to take a close look at our internal processes, protocols and programs to ensure that they are not unintentionally limiting the representation, expression or advancement of anyone in the organization. ⠀ • Community Engagement & External Change – We will develop outreach programs to deepen our relationships with and financial investments in community-based organizations, non-profits, civic and cultural institutions. ⠀ • Company-wide Education – We are creating a training program to support employees with information, research, resources, professional development and education on topics such as unconscious and implicit bias, cultural sensitivity and anti-racism. ⠀ ⠀ The past weeks have brought to the surface deeply painful experiences for members of the black community, which include many L'Oréal employees, partners, customers and consumers. We are gathering, talking, connecting and—most importantly—listening. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable and we’ll share our progress in the future.

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Sephora

This beauty chain stands with the 15 Percent Pledge by committing to having a minimum of 15% of shelf space moving forward dedicated to Black-owned companies. Also, the company will dedicate $1 million to support Black designers through other efforts.

Thrive Causemetics

As the name implies, this beauty brand is down with the cause. A recent Instagram post details seven ways they pledge to be actively anti-racist and commit to the Black community. In terms of internal improvements, Thrive plans to hire a Black Diversity and Inclusion Leader for diversity training, suggest areas for improvement, work closely with HBCUs to gain more diverse talent at all levels, and lend their platform to Black voices and businesses.

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Thrive Causemetics is answering the call by CEO + Founder of @uomabeauty @heysharonc to #PullUpOrShutUp! As a beauty company built around philanthropy, we have traditionally been committed to partnering with organizations that promote the health + wellness of women. Our efforts have been centered around engaging with organizations that support women affected by domestic abuse, homelessness + cancer – all issues that disproportionately impact Black women and people of color largely due to centuries of systemic racism and lack of access to proper healthcare in our country. We accept full accountability that our employee base must include more Black voices. With 71.4% of our employee base self-reporting, our team is: 94% Female 6% Male 56% Non-White 44% White 24% Hispanic/Latinx  14% Asian  6% Black/African American  12% Other  42% Identify as a person of color  58% Do not identify as a person of color We have three employees at the executive level. Two are women, one is a man. Currently, there is no Black representation at the executive level and we have one Black team member on our corporate leadership team. This is where we are, but certainly not where we will remain. It is absolutely necessary that we use our platform, privilege and resources to combat longstanding systemic racism and to hold ourselves accountable to be actively anti-racist. We’ve spent this week reflecting, listening, learning + having real conversations with our Black team members, at their pace, on their terms. Our employees' mental health, wellbeing and safety is always our priority and we’ve given our team the opportunity to take time off to rest + practice self-care. We’ve always been dedicated to our Bigger Than Beauty™ mission + we’re putting our words into actions with this pledge. Our commitment to the Black community and to be actively anti-racist will continue to evolve as we continue to learn + reflect. We promise to keep you updated in our work and welcome you, our community, to continue to engage in progressive conversation with us. We’re listening + will continue to endlessly work towards change. @pullupforchange

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Honest Beauty

Jessica Alba’s company has committed to reviewing its internal diversity and inclusion policies to find areas for improvement, ensure more diversity develops in their following product lines, and hold internal training and listening sessions so all voices can be heard.

Moon Juice

Wellness and beauty brand Moon Juice announced via Instagram their pledge to bring in an equity consultant and set up anti-racism workshops to take responsibility and foster diversity.

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