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Fashion companies raise their voice against racism

By Jaime Martinez

3 Jun 2020

Despite being an act of social and corporate responsibility that should be taken for granted, fashion brands from different sectors of the industry have decided to keep up with the racial protests that are shaking public opinion these days, launching All kinds of communiqués with which to establish their positions and announce the various social commitments that they are taking as a sign of support for the black community.

With these declarations, they have decided to give visibility to the racial problems that still exist today among the different societies in the different countries. How well would this new wave of anti-racism outrage, encouraged by what appears to be only the latest episode of police brutality by the US police forces, demonstrate? A whole movement of protest has been generated against this, which now extends beyond the borders of the United States and across all social networks, as a result of the death of George Floyd on 25 May. He died in Minneapolis, Minnesota following his arrest by four local police officers.

Below FashionUnited highlights fashion companies that are speaking out against racism.

Nike and Adidas: from "Don't Do It" to "Together is how we make change"

One of the first fashion firms to take a public stand against what would be a new chapter of police brutality was the American sports goods and equipment brand Nike. From there they did not hesitate to change their brand slogan "Just do it" to a "Don't Do It" which they used as the starting point for a video release that they launched through their various social media channels. The message was shared via Twitter even by competitor, Adidas, with the message superimposed "Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make change".

"For once, don't do it. Don't pretend there isn't a problem in America. Don't look away from racism. Don't accept that innocent lives are taken from us. Don't make any more excuses. Don't think this doesn't affect you. Don't sit down and be quiet. Don't think you can't be part of the change. Let's all be part of the change", declared from Nike through the mentioned video.

In addition to sharing their competitor's message from their Twitter account, Adidas launched their own message: "Take action. Things won't change unless we bring about that change," said the German sportswear company on social media. I noted that it was accompanied by the message that "Together is how we move forward. Together we have the power to make things change. Together we have to fight against what is wrong to try and fix it.

Kering: "We will not remain silent"

Representing all its commercial brands, a portfolio including fashion houses such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga or Alexander McQueen, the French holding company Kering -one of the main international groups specialized in the luxury sector- has decided to publicly position itself against racism. A message of support to the community of colour, which in the case of the French company has decided to accompany various donations to organisations that fight against racial discrimination and police violence in the United States.

"Kering and all its brands are in solidarity against racism. Too many black lives have been lost in the struggle for equality in the United States" and "we will not remain silent", they declare from Kering in a statement. "Words alone are not enough," said the multinational, which is why "we want to contribute to organizations whose mission is focused on combating systemic racism and police brutality against the Black community in the United States. As a result of this decision, "Kering will make a donation to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), an organization that fights against discrimination based on race in the United States. As well as another donation to "Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to reduce police violence in the United States. These actions will be added to those that the Group and its brands carry out on a "daily basis", and which "we will continue to develop" through "internal initiatives and programs aimed at promoting respect, equality and equity". "It is a journey on which we are committed to continuing to make progress by continually doing the work that is necessary".

Gucci: "We cannot allow injustice and discrimination, in any form, to prevail"

In addition to the actions carried out from its parent company, Gucci, the current flagship of the Kering group, has decided to launch its own statement of rejection of racism. The message was jointly signed by Marco Bizzarri, CEO of the company, Alessandro Michele, Creative Director, and on behalf of all Gucci employees.

"Along with the rest of the world, we mourn the loss of George Floyd and the many black men and women we have lost before him. We support those who demand justice for the violence against them," the Italian firm said in its statement. "Our union to fight racism and to fight for equality, both as individuals and as a company, is stronger than ever. We cannot allow injustice and discrimination, in any form, to prevail". That is why, "as drivers of change, we join the fight to end systemic racism, intolerance, police violence and oppression. "We stand in solidarity with and support the Black community, which has always supported us.

Chloé: "We will continue to speak out against injustice, inequality and racism."

The French fashion company Chloé, also followed these recent racial protests with a statement of support for the black community. This letter was distributed through its various channels on social networks, along with a direct link to the official donation portal of the "Black Lives Matters" movement.

"Chloé positions itself as a strong ally of the black community. We will continue to denounce injustice, inequality and racism. We will continue to promote freedom and unity. In all its forms, for all people. Find your own way to make a difference," declares the firm throughout its brief message.

H&M: "We support and will support the Black community today, every day and everywhere."

Swedish fashion group H&M, considered the second largest textile company in the world after the Spanish Inditex, has been another of the multinationals that, in addition to its message of support, has decided to commit itself in a concrete way to the cause, announcing the donation of half a million dollars to different American organizations in defence of equality and non-discrimination.

"The recent killings of more members of the black community in the United States leave us devastated and disconsolate. Their lives, and the lives of all people of color who have been taken by violence, mattered," said Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group, in a statement. "We also recognize that we have made mistakes in the past, which have made us aware of how much we still need to learn. As a company, we are improving, but we can and must do better. So we are committed to making the past tangible to combat racism and support our employees, customers and communities. Showing symbolic support is not enough. And that is why we will take action. Most immediately, H&M's "commitment to donate 500,000 dollars" to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Legal Defense and Education fund, the Color of Change and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). "Organizations that fight for justice, economic rights and empowerment of the black community. Similarly, "we will provide our members and workers with additional resources to educate them about what is involved and implied in this whole range of prejudices. While in the United States, "we will strengthen our relationship with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and increase events that seek to further empower members of the Black community," and "we will also mobilize our efforts to increase their voter registration. "This list is not exhaustive" and "we will be meeting with working groups of Black leaders to help us with future work. But for now," Helmersson notes, "it is important for us to be able to state firmly and unequivocally: black lives matter.

Jonathan Anderson and Loewe: "We must make more than just a statement"

From the luxury fashion sector, Jonathan Anderson and Pascale Lepoivre, respectively the Creative Director and the CEO of Loewe -one of the main firms of the LVMH group-, launched a joint communiqué in which they highlighted the attempts that the prestigious Spanish ensign will continue to make to try to strengthen even more its links with the community of colour.

"Like all of you, we at Loewe have watched the racial protests unfold in America and now the world. These protests," add Loewe's leaders, "have made clear what has always been an unfortunate truth," namely that "the black community is subject to systematic racism. "Although these protests were born as a reaction to police violence," they stress, "we must recognize and condemn racism in all its forms. We have spent the last week asking ourselves to what extent we are part of the problem and, more importantly, how we can help and become part of the solution. "Loewe exists at the intersection of fashion and art, two worlds that have always benefited from the talent and creativity of people of African descent. And that's why, at this time, we need to make a real and sustainable commitment to the black community, which extends from our workshops to our artisans, from our philanthropic initiatives to our offices. A commitment for which the firm recognizes that "we must do more than just communicate", and "carry out various plans of action". These are actions that we "hope" to be able to share "with you as part of Loewe's ongoing dedication to change". "Meanwhile," they added in their letter, "we hear your voices from Black Lives Matter, and we echo them.

Chanel: "We are committed to fostering a culture based on trust, respect and inclusion"

As the rest of the fashion industry is doing, Chanel has decided to launch a message of support and solidarity. A message that in their case they have wanted to accompany with the black background for which they are deciding to share the majority of the users in social networks.

"Chanel denounces racism and shows its solidarity and empathy with those who feel devastated by the tragic loss of lives". "As a company," they add from the House of Camellias, "we are committed to fostering a culture based on trust, respect and inclusion, which are the values we uphold both among our employees and in communities around the world. At Fondation Chanel, we are committed to and support the ongoing efforts of our partners to promote and advance greater social justice. Along with our continued commitment to promoting diversity and equal opportunity within Chanel," they add, "we are expanding our objectives to continue to promote those same values within the communities in which we live and work.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.ES, translated and edited.

Photo Credits: Nike