Today, the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched IMPACT, a new initiative inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that aims to create opportunities for underrepresented communities. IMPACT, which takes its name from the CFDA’s mission “to strengthen the impact of American fashion designers in the global economy,” will connect its 450-plus members with Black and Brown creatives through a talent directory facilitated by Creatively. The directory—which will feature full and part-time jobs, freelance opportunities, and internships—officially launches this Friday. Additionally, IMPACT will provide open access, group mentoring, industry programming, and community building for Black and Brown industry professionals.
“This work is essential to the future of American fashion, which must be diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” said CFDA President CaSandra Diggs. “We launch IMPACT with a specific focus on widening talent pipelines and advancing career development for Black and Brown creatives and professionals. In the future, we will further the initiative to also address other inequities within the fashion system.”
The launch of IMPACT follows the release of the State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Fashion Report, a review of racial equity in fashion from the CFDA and fashion conglomerate PVH Corp.
The report, conducted by McKinsey & Company, surveyed 1,000 industry professionals in 41 companies, 20 stakeholders, and three focus groups with college students and burgeoning designers. Nearly 60 percent of respondents expressed that their employers have taken measurable steps to make their companies more inclusive—and four out of five believed these actions to be non-performative. Still, 26 percent—42 percent of Black women and 27 percent of Asian women—believed that their race prevented career growth.
“The inclusion and diversity challenges in the fashion industry are real,” said Stefan Larsson, CEO of PVH Corp., in a statement at the time. “This important research not only confirms that; the learnings from it will also help guide the work towards positive and lasting change.”
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