The fashion community has responded to the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis at the hands of police officers in multiple ways: supporting social justice, helping community organizers in their fight against racial inequality and offering solidarity to the black community.
Floyd’s death has ignited a wave of widespread Black Lives Matter protests across the country and the world.
Below is a list of what some of the leading fashion companies are doing to support their black employees, learn more about systemic racism and recognize the losses of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all victims of racism in the U.S. and beyond.
The Minneapolis-based retailer said it would invest $10 million in its long-time partners including the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum, along with “new partners in our hometown and across the country.“
The store will provide 10,000 hours of pro‑bono consulting services for black- and people of color‑owned small businesses, to help with their rebuilding efforts.
“We’re continuing to provide essentials like baby formula, diapers and medicine to communities most in need,” the company said. “We’ll offer our guests, through Target Circle, our loyalty program, the option to direct Target funds to local non-profits and include organizations supporting social justice. We’ll continue to work with our team, communities and partners to address longstanding systemic issues, to promote equity that enables shared prosperity and opportunity for all.
“And that’s just the start,” the company continued. ”In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to listen and learn from our communities and non-profit partners to better understand how Target can support their longer‑term needs.“
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $100 million over five years to create a new center on racial equality.
In correspondence to the company’s employees on June 5, chief executive officer Doug McMillon said that the goal of the center will be “to address systematic racism in society head-on and accelerate change. The center will seek to advance economic opportunity and healthier living, including issues surrounding the social determinants of health, strengthening workforce development and related educational systems, and support criminal justice reform with an emphasis on examining barriers to opportunity faced by those exiting the system.”
McMillon added that Walmart will work even harder to “recruit, develop and support African Americans and other people of color.” He asked employees to work with their leaders to “bring in great talent” to “make every part of our company even better.”
He said Walmart would work to “invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity and justice in aspects of everyday life. We will find the natural overlaps between Walmart’s core business and society’s larger needs that perpetuate racism and discrimination.” He said the company will focus its “power” on the nation’s financial, healthcare, education and criminal justice systems.
McMillon ended the letter by saying: “As an associate at Walmart, you are expected to truly, authentically and more deeply embrace inclusion. We must work together to actively shape the culture to be more inclusive and not just accept our differences but celebrate them — all the time — within every team. We’ve made a difference in the world in so many ways. We can make a meaningful, lasting difference in racial equity, too.”
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue is donating $100,000 to Black Retail Action Group, a nonprofit organization that prepares and educates professionals, entrepreneurs and students of color for executive leadership in retail and fashion. It also plans to amplify minority voices in its advertising and the way it selects its products. A top priority is “ensuring that every customer feels respected in our stores, which means not only education and training for our store associates, but also holding our team members accountable through the use of metrics and reporting,” according to Mark Metrick, president of Saks.
Goat is establishing a $1 million fund to support social justice efforts, with the first $100,000 going to The Underground Museum and The Bail Project.
The sneaker and streetwear resale app is one of many companies that were affected last weekend when the Flight Club store in Los Angeles, which Goat owns, was looted.
Goat said in a statement: “Over the last week, we’ve taken a step back from our business to reflect on the role we play in the fight against social and racial injustices. We looked closely at what it means to be truly and actively supportive of the black community, and the real steps necessary to impact change.
“Today, we’re establishing a $1 million fund to support social justice efforts and plan to contribute to this fund over time. These proceeds will be used to support national organizations and local causes in our community. The first $100,000 donation has been made to The Underground Museum in Los Angeles to support black artists and to The Bail Project to support protesters demanding change.
“As a company, we have the privilege and responsibility to be a part of the solution. We must continue to advocate and move forward in this fight, devoting our time, energy and resources to support change. We will show up, speak up and encourage dialogue, and we will keep our ears and our hearts open to our employees as well as to our community.”
The sporting goods brand on Friday said it would commit $40 million over the next four years to support the black community in the U.S. on behalf of its Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse labels. The funds will be earmarked to support organizations focused on social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America, Nike Inc. chief executive officer John Donahoe said in a message to the company’s staff.
Craig Williams, president of Jordan Brand, will head up the initiative with a small task force that will report back to Donahoe.
Internally, Donahoe said, the priority is to “get our own house in order. Simply put, we must continue to foster and grow a culture where diversity, inclusion and belonging is valued and is real. Nike needs to be better than society as a whole. Our aspiration is to be a leader.”
He added: “Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.”
Greg Uzzell, president and ceo of Converse, Inc., said the brand has already identified the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative as among the charities it will support. On top of that, he said Converse will work to provide “more opportunity, inclusion, belonging, representation and equity for current and future black teammates at all levels.” And the brand will “use our platforms to amplify the voices of black youth around the world and will fund a dedicated community of emerging global leaders creating progress together.”
Jordan Brand also committed even further to the cause. “Through our Jordan Wings Program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism,” Williams said. “But we know we can do more. In addition to the investment from Nike Inc., we are announcing a joint commitment from Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand to donate $100 million over the next 10 years. We must join forces with the community, government and civic leaders to create a lasting impact together. There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the black community. We embrace the responsibility.”
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, founders and creative directors of Proenza Schouler said Friday in a statement, “We unequivocally believe any form of racism or discrimination has no place in our word and we proudly stand with the entire Black Lives Matter movement. We affirm our commitment to supporting the entire Black community, both in terms of what we share with the world externally and how our organization is operated internally.”
The designers said they are supporting blacklivesmatter.com, naacpldf.org, blackvisionsmn.org, joincampaignzero.org, libertyfund.nyc, and brooklynbailfund.org/donate.
On Thursday, PVH took part in the National Day of Mourning, which coincides with the memorial services for Floyd. PVH North America associates from its retail stores, offices and warehouses are invited to observe eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence Thursday at 2 p.m. ET during Floyd’s memorial service. In partnership with BRAAVE (Building Resources for African American Voices and Empowerment), PVH has created a task force inclusive of leadership, HR, Inclusion & Diversity, The PVH Foundation, legal and corporate responsibility teams to ensure they are taking the right steps to make the most impact. The PVH Foundation is donating $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, impact litigation and education and seeks to achieve structural changes to advance democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice. It is also donating $100,000 to The National Urban League.
Beginning Monday, throughout the month of June, The PVH Foundation will match 100 percent of North America corporate associate charitable donations.
The company has also compiled resources to help educate itself about racism and bias and will be sharing it with its employees. This includes an Anti-Racism Resource Guide, Associate Check-in Guide, PVH U course offerings, videos, podcasts and articles.
The outdoors brand temporarily close 95 of its reopened retail stores Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. CDT during the memorial for George Floyd. “We stand against racism in all its forms, but in this moment, we want to be clear that we are proud to say black lives matter. George Floyd’s life mattered,” the company said in an internal memo from the company’s executive team provided to WWD.
The brand’s e-commerce site will continue to operate while the stores are closed and will post a statement on Floyd’s death and the steps the company is taking to fight racism, a spokesman said. The site showed a black screen with white lettering that read: “We Are Taking Action” and a line about the closure of the stores followed by the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.
In addition, Columbia said it will make donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Marshall Project “to advance our country’s understanding of racism and its root causes and to promote equal justice and opportunity.” It did not disclose the amount. It also said it will double match employee donations to any non-profits focusing on addressing racism, up to $1,000 through July 31. It then provided a list of organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative and the National Urban League.
Tory Burch plans to launch a program for its employees that will train them to be facilitators of difficult conversations in their families and circles. The company will provide small counseling sessions for African American employees to help them deal with their grief and feelings. Tory Burch’s chief people officer, Keisha Smith-Jeremie, shared her personal journey as a black in America in an e-mail to its U.S. team, including links to actions people could take to help make a difference. She is also leading efforts with employees that will include counseling for black employees and workshops on discussing race and bias for all employees. The company provided a list of resources to help employees educate themselves and their children about race in our society. The company will also work with outside facilitators and continue its public work through the Tory Burch Foundation on unconscious bias. The company’s Embrace Ambition Summit focuses on shattering stereotypes and combatting bias in all of its forms, including racial discrimination, by looking at the impact of unconscious bias.
Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Queelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux and Kering Eyewear have contributed to organizations focused on combating systemic racism and ending police violence toward the black community in the U.S. Kering has made a donation to the NAACP and Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to reduce police violence in the U.S.
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone has committed $5 for every mask sold on rag-bone.com to Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to put an end to police brutality. In addition, employees will be given the opportunity to participate in a company-wide conversation around institutional bias and its impact on communities. Education tools will be provided to employees to learn more about how they can support communities and organizations in the continued fight against racial injustice
G-III Apparel Group
“We at G-III maintain a zero tolerance position against racism inequality and injustices of any kind. We strongly believe that we all need to do our part to make a difference, both internally in our company and externally in our communities. We are committing our support to UNCF [United Negro College Fund] and other organizations in the effort to help eradicate social and racial injustice,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer of G-III.
H&M Group pledged to donated $500,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Color of Change and the ACLU. The company is also providing its colleagues with additional resources to further educate them around implicit bias. Further, in the U.S., it will develop stronger relationships with historically black colleges and universities and increase community events that continue to empower the black community. It also plans to mobilize efforts to increase voter registration. It is also assembling a task force of black leaders to help apprise the company on further work.
Banana Republic, along with Gap Inc. brands Athleta, Gap and Old Navy have come together to donate $250,000 to support the NAACP and EmbraceRace to fight for equal rights.
In addition, Banana Republic will donate more than $20 million of new clothing to those in need, including millions of unemployed Americans who need support getting back to work and on their feet.
Teaming up with Delivering Good, a nonprofit that supports Americans affected by poverty and tragedy, Banana Republic will donate clothing to a variety of partnership organizations in states most impacted, including Hour Working Women Program in New York and Central City Neighborhood Partners in Los Angeles.
The Gap Foundation also revealed a $1 million donation to local, state, national and internal nonprofit organizations to support underserved families during the coronavirus crisis.
The company is participating in peaceful protests and making that time available for anyone on the team who wishes to do so. It is also supporting organizations working for voting rights initiatives, signing and sharing petitions to support Black Lives Matter and other action groups and joining the virtual Town Hall Thursday night. For the month of June, the company will be donating 10 percent of all profits to the NAACP.
After consulting with its black colleagues, the company is establishing a Black Employees Forum to put into action a racial equality learning program across the business. The company plans to step up efforts to achieve greater diversity among the designers they carry and starting in late August, will publish an annual breakdown of the designers they support by ethnic background. They will also work harder to get better representation of different communities at every level of their business and have committed to publishing an annual breakdown of colleagues at different levels of seniority by ethnic breakdown.
The company is donating to the Northwest Community Bail Fund, Black Lives Matter Seattle, Communities United for Police Reform and Until Freedom. It is closing its site for 24 hours, and encouraging its customers to support the organizations it supports in its stories.
The designer pledged to donate a percentage of the profits from all sales this month to the Brooklyn Bail Fund, a non-profit organization that fights racism, inequality and injustice in the criminal legal system. “We stand with the black community in demanding justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and the countless others who have not risen to mass public attention,” Chavarria said in an e-mail to customers on Thursday. The plan is to donate 100 percent of profits through June to the cause, according to a spokesman, as long as the company can continue to cover its operating expenses.
Skims is donating to several organizations focused on making change and fighting racial justice. They are NCAAP Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League, Color of Change, and Black Lives Matter.
The New York-based swim brand has developed a set of company-wide key performance indicators for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and with contractors. The company has made a donation to Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police violence in America, and the donation was matched by the company’s founder and chief executive officer Melanie Travis. The company will continue to support black-focused organizations. When producing for its channels, the company has pledged to have diverse representation among models, influencers, makeup artists, photographers and all who contribute.