In a major push to advance the representation of Black, indigenous and people of color within the fashion and creative industries, Tommy Hilfiger has unveiled the People’s Place program, a three-pillared platform with an initial minimum commitment of $5 million per year in funding over the next three years.
The three pillars are Partnerships, Career Access and Industry Leadership which aim to increase BIPOC representation both within and outside the company.
In Partnerships and Representation, Hilfiger looks to enhance its diverse talent pipeline, focusing on purpose-led collaborations that increase minority visibility and partner with organizations and creative peers whose mission is to advance BIPOC representation and equity in the industry.
For Career Support and Industry Access, the brand aims to help ensure career opportunities by providing access to information or physical materials, specialist advice and industry introductions, among other things, to advance representation of minority communities within the industry.
For Industry Leadership, Hilfiger will commit to independent, industry-wide analyses of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry, and will work toward creating action plans to use internally that can also be shared with the broader fashion sector in an effort to increase representation at every level.
On May 31, Hilfiger himself called for bold change in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, saying, “What’s happening is not OK. We need action.” This instigated a shift toward a culture of greater learning, listening and engaging both internally and with the industry to better understand the role the brand should play to support BIPOC communities.
“What is happening to Black communities in the U.S. and around the world has no place in our society,” Hilfiger said. “The fact that it has continued to exist in our industry is unacceptable. We are far behind where we should be in achieving diverse representation. It shouldn’t have taken us this long to acknowledge that, but we are determined and committed to changing it going forward. We will be intentional, fearless and unwavering in the actions we take. Through the People’s Place Program, we will use our platform to create opportunities and stand up for what is right.”
People’s Place was the name of Hilfiger’s first store in his hometown Elmira, N.Y., which opened in 1969 during the counter-cultural revolution of the era that challenged social norms and fostered self-expression. The company said it is in this spirit that the new People’s Place Program has been founded and will continue to expand.
“As a company, we haven’t done enough,” said Martijn Hagman, chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe. “But we are determined to do better. We are taking immediate action to ensure that BIPOC communities in the fashion industry feel represented, heard and equally welcome to their seat at the table. The People’s Place journey starts now with a dedicated internal governance structure that will drive and report regularly on the long-term objectives of the platform. This is a firm commitment and first step in a long journey for what the People’s Place Program can achieve.”
Senior leadership will be appointed to direct the program, accelerate its growth internally and externally, and maintain focus on transparency through regular reporting on progress and its impact. The People’s Place Program team is presently engaging in discussions with industry peers and partners who can help advance its mission and help increase its impact.
Hilfiger’s parent PVH Corp. and its entire brand portfolio, which also includes Calvin Klein, Izod, Van Heusen, Arrow, Warner’s, Olga, True & Co. and Geoffrey Beene, is taking a stand against racism. In an effort to help end racial inequality, the PVH Foundation has donated $100,000 to each of The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and The National Urban League. During the month of June, The PVH Foundation matched 100 percent of charitable donations made by associates globally to organizations supporting racial justice.
Hilfiger is also taking internal strides to address shortcomings in its internal BIPOC representation, launching an action plan to further address discrimination, injustice, inequality and racism in order to better reflect the diversity of its customer base.
Among the steps, it is taking is listening and equipping leaders and hiring managers at all levels to help develop a deeper understanding of systemic racism, privilege and bias. It is also rolling out mandatory unconscious bias training to all associates, building out a dedicated Inclusion & Diversity digital resource channel accessible to all associates, and launching an educational and informational event series for associates on racial justice. The compamy is evolving its recruitment policies and practices with the aim of attracting more diverse talent.
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