The BFC has created a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Committee
It’s just part of the organising body’s commitment to real change in the fashion industry.
Richard Quinn AW20. Photography Mitchell Sams
The events of the past months have cast a harsh light on the systemic racism that has long infected creative industries at their core, with fashion among the worst blighted. As a whole, the industry has done well to move past denying the issue’s existence, rallying together to declare that something must be done. But what exactly does ‘something’ look like? And how can we ensure that the many calls to action we’ve heard as of late don’t just reach those within our own echo chambers, or fall on deaf ears?
Today, the British Fashion Council has announced its plan for action in the form of the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee. “An essential part of its long-term plan to fight prejudice and discrimination and galvanise the industry into action,” a statement reads. Its principal aims are to identify and eliminate the barriers that members of minority communities face in gaining fair representation in all corners of the industry.
Given the deeply entrenched, socially complex nature of these obstacles, it’s a bold commitment, to say the least. How, then, does the BFC seek to achieve its objective, you ask? It’s adopting a multi-pronged, wide-reaching approach, with actions ranging from the creation of diversity frameworks that businesses of all sizes can implement, to reviewing the fairness of its current development programmes and actively promoting a culture of inclusivity and equitable recognition across the industry. The organising body has also appointed three POC Non-Executive Directors to its board and has pledged to host fortnightly calls with over 200 BAME members of the UK’s fashion community.
While the end results of this process remain to be seen, such high-level, institutional commitment to bringing about real change is encouraging to say the least. In the same breath, it’s important to underscore that this is but the first step along a path paved with difficult conversations and harsh truths — it’s vital that the energy and commitment demonstrated now is maintained throughout if the destination in our sights is to be reached.