Fashion Brands Lay Out Plans To Support The Black Community

This story was originally published on June 1, 2020.

Over the weekend, Aurora James, the creative director and founder of footwear and accessories brand Brother Vellies, called on the fashion industry’s big players, from Net-A-Porter to Saks Fifth Avenue, to commit to buying 15 percent of their products from Black-owned businesses

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“So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power,” James wrote on Instagram. “So many of your stores are set up in Black communities. So many of your sponsored posts are seen on Black feeds. This is the least you can do for us. We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.”

Further down in the post, she writes: “So for all of the ‘what can we do to help?’ questions out there, this is my personal answer. #15PercentPledge.” 

Other companies have shown support via social media, where they are sharing ways in which to help the movement’s agenda. Others still are taking more significant steps toward change, creating manifestos and guidelines in order to rework the industry’s approach toward the Black community entirely. 

Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty also posted a plea on Instagram calling for people to #PullUp. “Now’s not the time to stay silent or stand by. Pull TF Up,” the caption says. It also outlines the brand’s plans to donate to The Bail Project, an organization that provides free bail for those who cannot afford to pay it, and @BLMGreaterNY, the New York-specific coalition of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Ahead, we’ve put together a list of all the fashion companies who have spoken up so far as a result of this weekend's protests. Read their messages and support them in their efforts. 

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To help bring attention to the police killing of George Floyd, you can sign the Change.org petition here, or donate to local organizations like Black Vision Collective or Reclaim the Block via the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.

Target


"As we face an inflection point in Minneapolis and across the country, we’re listening to our team, guests and communities, committed to using our size, scale, and resources to help heal and create lasting change,” Brian Cornell, the chairman and CEO of Target, said in a press release on June 5. The company will be donating $10 million to organizations such as the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum. In addition, Target is offering 10,000 hours of pro-bono consulting services for Black- and people-of-color-owned small businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Shopbop & Amazon


In addition to a promise to improve their representation of the Black community across the company — "in the brands [they] carry, the partners [they] work with, and the content [they] produce" — Shopbop, with leadership from Amazon, will be donating $10 million to a number of organizations that focus on social justice and improving Black lives.

The RealReal


"At The RealReal we believe in equality and we stand for anti-racism," the luxury consignor wrote in an Instagram caption on May 31. To reiterate that statement, the company announced a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as well as a commitment to developing further nonprofit partnerships to advocate for change.

The company also outlined steps that it will take going forward to support and empower Black people internally, including the introduction of a diversity task force focused on Black, People of Color, and LGBTQ communities and beginning mandatory unconscious bias training for managers and leaders.

Uniqlo



Japanese retailer Uniqlo joined forces with the ACLU and pledged to donate $100,000 to organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Fashionnova


On June 3, Fashionnova pledged $1 million to be donated throughout the remainder of the year to a number of organizations, both nationwide and local, starting with Black Lives Matter, the NAACP Legal and Education Fund, and Your Rights Camp.

Rent The Runway


"We are focused on our long-term strategy to create lasting change within our own business and industry, including providing a larger platform for Black designers, entrepreneurs, stylists, models, and talent," the popular fashion rental platform wrote in an Instagram caption on June 2.

Later that day, in a second post, the brand announced a $100,000 donation to the NAACP, Black Visions Collective, and other organizations combating racial injustice. In addition, Rent The Runway has promised to allocate $1 million to support Black designers via its platform, be it through wholesale, manufacturing, design, data, mentorship, or financial support.

Lastly, RTR has agreed to take the #15PercentPledge introduced by designer Aurora James. "This is just the start, and we look forward to sharing further details on other plans soon. Our work has just begun," the post reads.

Kering


Kering, the parent brand to luxury labels like Gucci, YSL, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen, announced on June 2 that it would be making an undisclosed donation to the NAACP and Campaign Zero. "Every day, the Group and its brands will continue to develop initiatives and internal programs to foster respect, equality, and fairness, recognizing that it is a journey and we are committed to continuously doing the work," the Group's post on Instagram states.

Etsy


The Brooklyn-based virtual marketplace just announced a $1 million donation to be divided equally to Equal Justice Initiative and Borealis Philanthropy's Black-Led Movement Fund. The company will also be matching all employee donations. In the post, the company writes: "To the communities across the US who are voicing their anguish, anger, and deep frustration with systems that oppress and devalue Black lives, we stand in solidarity with you."

Gucci


On June 2, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, Creative Director Alessandro Michele, and Gucci employees co-signed a letter stating its commitment to "fight to end systematic racism, bigotry, police violence, and oppression." In addition, through Gucci's North America Changemakers Impact Fund, the brand will be donating to the NAACP, Campaign Zero, and Know Your Rights Camp.

On Thursday, the brand will cease all operations in the U.S. to honor the lives lost and recommit to being a part of the solution, the brand's Instagram caption explains.
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Loewe


Spanish luxury brand Loewe's creative director Jonathan Anderson and CEO Pascale Lepoivre pledged to become a part of the solution to the issue of systematic racism around the world. "Making this commitment means we must make more than just one statement, and have more than just one plan," the letter reads. "We look forward to sharing more with you as a part of Loewe's ongoing dedication to change. In the meantime, we hear your cries of Black Lives Matter, and we echo them proudly."

Maryam Nassir Zadeh


On June 1, NY-based indie designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh announced that she would match all donations made to the Black Lives Matter movement for 24 hours. Nassir Zadeh also included a list of organizations to donate to, including Black Visions Collective, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Campaign Zero.

Lou Dallas


Brooklyn-based designer Raffaella Hanley of the brand Lou Dallas is donating 50% of the proceeds from her End Militarism Tee to Black Lives Matter. In addition, her post also shares information, courtesy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, about what items to bring to a protest in order to stay safe.

Stella McCartney


The London-based luxury designer is donating to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help combat racial injustice. "Racism is a pandemic that kills. It subjugates. It incarcerates. It humiliates," McCartney writes on Instagram. "We are the vaccine – we must stand strong and unite against systemic ignorance today and begin to build a better tomorrow, for everyone."

Collina Strada


In addition to signing a "button contract," which was created by Yétundé Olagbaju as a formal promise to protect Black people, Collina Strada founder and creative director Hillary Taymour is also donating 100% of the proceeds from this week's sales to bail funds across the country.
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Asai


Asai designer A Sai Ta promised to, moving forward, donate a percentage of every dollar he makes to Black Lives Matter. In addition, he will be manufacturing and selling a dress previously only owned by himself and Rihanna, with all the proceeds going to Solace Women's Aid, Black Lives Matter, and the Voices of Domestic Aid.

PrettyLittleThing x Saweetie


In addition to posting resources for donations on Instagram, PrettyLittleThing launched a collaborative collection with singer Saweetie on June 1. Hundred percent of proceeds from it will be donated directly to Black Lives Matter.

Vaquera


NY-based design trio Vaquera is not only donating to the National Black Justice Coalition, Black Visions Collective, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and National Bail Out, but they're also using their platform as a resource for their white friends, collaborators, followers, and customers to find modes of donating, educating themselves, and engaging in conversations in order to dismantle racism.

Marques Almeida


UK fashion label Marques Almedia has vowed to donate 20% of all the proceeds from the brand's website to Black Lives Matter in order to "end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever."

Jonathan Cohen


Jonathan Cohen's Flower Shop, which the NY-based designer first established as a mode to uplift people during COVID-19, has since turned into a resource for raising money for the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundred percent of the proceeds from the "For George Floyd" digital bouquet was first donated to Minnesota Freedom Fund; after the organization raised $20 million, it asked Cohen's team to begin donating to other organizations in need. Now, the proceeds are going to Bailout NYC.
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Eckhaus Latta


Bi-coastal indie brand Eckhaus Latta is matching all donations made to the Bail Project, an organization providing funds to anyone who needs bail assistance. To get the match, DM a screenshot of your donation receipt to the brand's Instagram.

Brother Vellies


In her post, James says that the fashion industry might think the #15PercentPledge is asking a lot. "I will get texts that this is crazy. I will get phone calls that this is too direct, too big of an ask, too this, too that," she writes. "But I don’t think it’s too anything, in fact I think it’s just a start. You want to be an ally? This is what I’m asking for."

Below her post, James comments, "And yet again this is information and education brought to you free of charge. You’re welcome," further reiterating the fact that it isn't the Black community's responsibility to educate white people.

Savage x Fenty


In addition to donating proceeds from the brand to both The Bail Project and the Black Lives Matter movement in greater NY, Rihanna and Savage x Fenty are also asking their fans and followers to #PullUp and do their part and speak up.

Nike


In a video posted to the brand's Instagram on May 30, Nike calls on its 113 million followers "to be a part of the change." "For once, don't do it," the video reads, followed by a series of statements including, "don't pretend there's not a problem in America," "don't turn your back on racism," and "don't accept innocent lives being taken from us."

Aritzia


In solidarity with the Black community and to honor George Floyd, Vancouver-based brand Aritzia is donating $100,000 to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter. "In a moment where we can't possibly find the words, we're using our platform as a call to action — to speak up, to listen, to love our neighbors, to learn from our neighbors, to think critically, to come together and do what's right," the post says.
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Marc Jacobs


The designer took to Instagram on May 31, writing "A life cannot be replaced. Black Lives Matter" on a photo of his LA store's sign which was crossed out and replaced with the names George Floyd and Sandra Bland. In another post, the designer wrote, "Property can be replaced, human lives CANNOT."

Reebok


UK-based athleticwear brand Reebok took to Instagram to show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as to encourage people "to walk in someone else's shoes, to stand in solidarity, and to find our common ground of humanity." Also in the post, the brand recognizes that "without the Black community, Reebok would not exist. America would not exist."

The Hundreds


Bobby Hundreds, the founder of LA-based streetwear brand The Hundreds, posted a message of support for the protesters after his store was broken into. "When people ask why I’m not upset that my business is impacted or my neighborhood pillaged, I tell them that my disgust over injustices in this country eclipses any other temporary feeling," Hundreds wrote on Instagram. "Don’t ever stop protesting (I never said “rioting” or “looting”). Dissent is a bona fide American act. Use your voice – people died for that right. Stand up for yourself and others. EVEN IF YOU BRING THE FIRE TO MY DOORSTEP, I WILL STAND IN IT WITH YOU."

Lisa Says Gah


"We need more Black-owned brands in our assortment," the San-Francisco-based etailer wrote in an Instagram post. "We are setting aside $10K to purchase from Black-owned brands & designers this month for you to shop and support on LSG. We will make sure to update you as we add to the shop. Share favorites ⬇️❤️ We have also donated to @blackmamasmatter and @blklivesmatter #BlackLivesMatter."

Prabal Gurung


"Stand up, resist with love, fight against injustice, support minority-owned businesses, protect those around you, educate yourself, invest in your activism, donate (swipe to see some incredible organizations in this post) - and remember that silence and inaction are the ultimate forms of complicity," a post on the brand's Instagram reads.

On an earlier post, the brand included a list of ways to take action: "Donate to important organizations: Text FLOYD to 55156 for George Floyd, Text ENOUGH to 55156 for Breonna Taylor, Text JUSTICE to 55156 for Ahmaud Arbery."
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Ganni


Copenhagen-based fashion brand Ganni announced on June 1 that it will donate $100,000 to the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and the ACLU. "We know this is not enough—we must continue to listen, research, and educate ourselves about systematic injustice and state-sanctioned violence against Black people globally," the post reads.

Ganni's website was also closed that day, with the homepage asking potential shoppers to consider instead donating to anti-racist organizations. The brand is also encouraging Black creatives to message them, as it plans to commission work to share on their social media platforms.

Warby Parker


New York-based eyewear brand Warby Parker pledged $1 million to organizations focused on fighting systematic racism across the country. As for which organizations will receive the funds, the brand is taking input from multiple sources, per a comment on the post. "Our ultimate goal is to ensure these funds are distributed to groups that will drive meaningful impact toward combating systemic racism. We will share more details on our approach once it’s finalized," the brand wrote in response to a commenter.
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