An illustration by Mona Chalabi for the 15 Percent Pledge.

Moda Operandi is the latest retailer to take designer and activist Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge toward a more diverse fashion industry. It means that, over time, Moda Operandi’s designer roster will reflect roughly 15 percent Black-owned businesses among other framework that is still being finalized.

The announcement follows those made earlier this week that Kith and Next Model Management have also taken the pledge toward improved racial equity. Kith, which stocks third-party labels in addition to its own, has vowed to make 15 percent of those companies Black-owned brands, while Next Model Management will increase the number of Black models on its roster to about 15 percent of its overall model board.

“We are thrilled to partner with the 15 Percent Pledge and share the immense talent of Black designers with our customers,” Moda Operandi’s chief brand officer Lauren Santo Domingo said in a statement. “Through focused activism, Aurora James and the 15 Percent Pledge have demonstrated that what has been normalized is not acceptable. We are eager to work with the Pledge to reach this important goal.”

James added of Moda’s new involvement: “After watching countless retailers and corporations make announcements touting their commitments to diversity and inclusion without any measurable action, it’s encouraging to see new partners work toward investing in Black businesses and creating diverse and equitable retail environments. By committing to the Pledge, Moda Operandi has taken a huge step toward advancing racial equity across retail and fashion, and we look forward to working with them to drive real change in both industries.”

Prompted by the police killing of George Floyd and renewed calls for racial justice, James founded the 15 Percent Pledge in June 2020 as an actionable way for fashion brands to commit to increasing diversity and prosperity for Black-owned businesses in the wider industry. Retailers including Sephora, Macy’s Inc., Rent the Runway and Gap Inc. are among the companies that have already signed on to the cause.

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