Fashion Trade Association Releases Diversity Report and Hires Model to Help with DNI Efforts
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the nonprofit trade association devoted to supporting the growth of American fashion, released a report on Monday calling out a pervasive lack of diversity in the industry’s upper echelons. Titled “Insider/Outsider,” it outlines how companies’ leadership often fails to include people of color, women and the LGBTQ community. The report labels those from diverse groups as outsiders. Though, perhaps the “outsiders” are in fact the “insiders” and view those who sit atop the power structure as “outsiders” who actually follow the diverse group’s lead? "Our joint goal is to identify the issues and address needs to convert awareness into action," the mission statement of the report reads. The CFDA plans to launch a series of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, and has hired model and activist Bethann Hardison as an advisor to help guide the efforts. Hardison broke barriers in the 1970s, appearing in Allure, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue. In 1984, she founded the Bethann Management Agency, which focused on diversifying the fashion industry. Also, along with former model and friend Iman, Hardison co-founded the Black Girls Coalition in 1988 to provide advocacy and support to African American models. The CFDA said it will continue its work in educating the industry about inclusion and diversity this year with programs such as peer-to-peer mentorship and leadership training. Its previous programs include last year’s Black Fashion Founders Forum in collaboration with Google, the Glass Runway study on women in fashion with Glamour magazine and a 2017 report with FWD.us that looked at how current immigration policy hurts the fashion industry’s competitiveness in the US. Read the full report here.