The Executive Director of the British Fashion Council (BFC) told CNBC that there is a “huge embarrassment” that he accepted the global response to the death of George Floyd to make industry and society think and focus on racism.
Caroline Rush, who led the nonprofit industry body since 2009, has spoken after the recent launch of London’s first ever digital fashion week. She said that it is important for business now to follow their comments against racism and make sure that measures are taken.
“I think everyone should look at their advice. They should look at their hiring processes. They must actively go out and look at their community. They should protect and be supporters and allies of individuals in their organization and really think, and your business is a culture that is welcomed among people and minorities, you know, of all kinds? ” she said.
In the United States, a trade colleague, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has also taken steps to address the issue of race and representation after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, which sparked protests against racism in the United States. USA and worldwide.
The organization’s chairman, well-known fashion designer and fashion icon Tom Ford, as well as president and CEO Steven Kolb called on members to “ensure they have a racially balanced workforce” and challenge the retail sector in the fashion industry “to ensure that their roster of brands and their the product range is representative of black talent in the industry. “
Over the past few years, there have been signs of increased representation in some industries, especially on the global catwalks of Fashion Week.
According to a recent report on diversity presented by The Fashion Spot social forum, in the fall of 2019, more than double the number of non-white ones appeared on the runways compared to the spring of 2015, i.e. from 17% to almost 40%.
The BFC announced plans to expand the diversity of its own board of directors and to review its recruitment processes to meet the needs for greater representation.
The “devastating effect” of a pandemic
According to Mckinsey, the fashion industry brings in $ 2.5 trillion a year. In the UK alone, the industry employs 890,000 people, and in 2019, £ 35 million was contributed to GDP, according to new data published by forecaster and analyst at Oxford Economics.
Rush told CNBC that there was no doubt that the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic would have a “devastating effect” on many people and livelihoods, and some businesses had already collapsed.
“Some of them managed to gain access to the government business support scheme, so, in my opinion, almost everyone except freelancers has a certain problem, but there are certain problems. But loans for business interruptions, rebound loans, there is a very small part of our enterprises that were able to access them, ”she said.
After Covid-19, the first-ever London Fashion Week, dedicated only to digital technology, kicked off on June 12, when the men’s collection was traditionally on display. This year’s event, which provided digital online access to everyone, combined men’s and women’s clothing for the first time to become gender-neutral.
Looking to the future at the next London Fashion Week in September, Rush believes that by then something more could appear than a hybrid model between digital and physical events and, possibly, some human interaction.
“The part that I miss very much from our digital Fashion Week was such discussion, interaction, knowledge sharing and understanding. And I think the knowledge transfer that comes from bringing together groups of people at business events such as Fashion Week has still been underestimated, ”she said.