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Fashion brands, an industry founded on systemic racism

Published on 15.10.2021 at 13:30

Living in this city brings me joy to living my authentic life. I am a black woman who loves using fashion in my anti-racism activism to advocate for the rights of racial and gender minorities. This is a city where brands meet people, but the fashion industry has long failed to stand against racism. So, it is ironic to see that after so many years of systemic racism, cultural appropriation, and stealing creative rights, the fashion industry is now anti-rascit in the wake of Black Lives Matter movement.  I do not believe they have genuine intentions to make long-lasting change to counter systemic racial discrimination.


Of course anyone can jump into the Black Lives Matter movement as we have seen on social media, but what are we really doing within our homes, schools, communities, through our work, with the power we have? Irony and hypocrisy have plagued many fashion brands since the onset of the BLM protests. So, can these brands be allies in the fight against systemic racism while they are accused of discriminating against trans models, balck models, the workplace racism, and racial profiling the customers. This is to say nothing for failing to elevate and give space to black editors, writers, photographers, and designers and give them credit for their work and contribution.


I mean, there are many ways the fashion brands benefit from systemic racial discrimination; they get away with not paying garment workers livable wages, they devalue black people by not only stealing their designs, but using them to exploit people and making profits from them. That is, fashion and racism are so intertwined, that the system must be dismantled for positive change to happen, to work towards true systemic change by diversifying leadership in the fashion industry; fighting for garment workers rights, intellectual property protection, and environmental justice; investing in minority communities; and committing to accountability.

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