How the World of Fashion Responded to Black Lives Matter
By Rhianydd Sword
When I think of October a few things come to mind: Halloween, the fact that our clocks get set back an hour and the excitement of knowing that we’re one month closer to Christmas. However, the most significant thing about October is that it marks Black History month. Its importance is paramount as we continuously fight for equality amongst the Black Lives Matter movement.
This year the world came together to stand up and say that enough is enough, things need to change and change now. This stand came in many forms: protests, social media posts, signing important petitions and donating to charities supporting Black Lives Matter.
Historically, fashion has had a race problem with a lack of diversity on a range from models to racially insensitive products. The lack of difference has faced much criticism and it is an issue that many in fashion have tried to rectify, to some effect but arguably not enough. I will note here that when recently reading a fashion magazine, I noticed that the majority of the models were white. This suggests that there are still steps that need to be taken to create a multi-cultural community.
However, over the summer as many of us came together in solidarity, the world of fashion was shown to oppose racism by making various statements. Big businesses such as H&M and Marks and Spencer pledged money to various charities supporting Black Lives Matter. More and more companies began to speak out to show their support. There was also an urgent call for people to support black owned businesses as studies showed that white businesses were more successful, with no apparent reason.
If you want to know an example of where to find small black owned businesses in order to show your support, I’ve done some research and found that a good place to look is Etsy. Etsy is essentially an online marketplace where sellers can post their items for potential buyers. They have a section dedicated to supporting black sellers where you can find anything from bandanas for your pet to patterned playsuits. Outside of fashion, there’s also some beautiful art and items such as bookmarks and candles. What I personally like about Etsy is that they give you information on the seller to add a personal touch and so that you feel like you really know who you’re buying from.
Other, larger companies such as SheIn which is an online fashion company, whilst donating money to various Black Lives Matter charities have also designed and created t-shirts in a collection called SheIn Together of which the proceeds go to different charities who want to narrow the racial divide.
Obviously, these are only a few of many examples as there were a large majority of fashion retailers who showed their support. It appears that the fashion community is taking steps to become more diverse, despite previous conflicts. This, hopefully, is a positive sign.