Can True Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion Really Exist?

Can True Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion Really Exist?

by Brycen Saunders

Earlier today, the Council of Fashion Designers of America released an in-depth diversity and inclusion study in conjunction with PVH, the company that owns brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

Titled "State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Fashion," (a follow up to their 2019 Insider/Outsider industry brief), the report outlines the efforts made to continue the conversation of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the fashion industry. It also aims to explore the persistent pitfalls of talent acquisition and retention within this space and how to overcome said obstacles.

It draws upon analysis from over 1,000 industry professionals across 41 companies to quantify perceptions of DEI within this space and acknowledge the biases and challenges unique to the fashion industry. While the results aren't particularly surprising, it reaffirms what we already know about the various sets of issues that have permeated this industry for so long. The problems are familiar. The pain is familiar. The questions are familiar. So what are we supposed to take from this study?

What the CFDA and PVH make clear is the need to enact change, which it lays out via a tiered approach that lists specific, quantifiable steps and measures. Unlike many brands and industry folks who screamed "diversity and inclusion" without a real plan to implement action, the study appears to take a proactive approach by outlining ways that organizations, companies, and individuals can advance these causes. This plan in particular is broken down into sections that each address matters such as attracting, hiring, nurturing and retaining diverse talent.

The joint study, released on the first day of Black History Month, acts as a potential resource for various segments in the industry, which is still reeling from work-related issues sparked by the racial movements and social unrest from last summer. As we continue to move towards a more equitable industry, time will determine who will follow suit in making sure their own plans are not only stated, but visibly actualized.

Take a look at the CFDA's report and full plan here.

Photo via Getty