BFC announces Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee
By Danielle Wightman-Stone
Sep 17, 2020
The British Fashion Council has announced the launch of its Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee as part of its “long-term plan to fight prejudice and discrimination and galvanise the industry into action”.
The committee is made up of industry and British Fashion Council representatives and its role will be to address "key challenges facing minority communities in gaining fair representation” in fashion.
The priority work of the committee will be to “stamp out racism,” explained the British Fashion Council in a statement, as well as address the "specific challenges each minority community faces within the fashion industry”.
The committee will work as part of the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) to ensure accountability and best practice for all fashion businesses and will operate alongside the wider British Fashion Council team to address existing programmes.
Ahead of London Fashion Week, which kicks off today, September 17, the committee issued its mission statement: “The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee aspires for the fashion industry to be open for all and reflect the diverse, global communities it inspires and serves.
“The Committee aims to reach this ambition by bringing together leaders in business, culture and education to create a framework which will build better, broader engagement and access for all under-represented groups; creating more opportunities and driving greater diversity throughout the industry.
“Its ambition is to create true equity, increase diversity and inclusion and provide a platform to role models who will inspire future generations.”
British Fashion Council to fight prejudice and discriminations with new steering committee
In year one, the committee has set itself three tasks, including the creation of a diversity and inclusion framework for fashion businesses of all sizes to implement to reach global leading standards. The British Fashion Council added that it will support businesses by providing practical advice and toolkits to ensure organisations can create change and measure their successes.
In addition, it will ensure development programmes “are fair and equitable for all”. With the British Fashion Council stating that they will review all its current programmes, from scholarships to fashion weeks, as well as look at Talent ID programmes and networks to ensure that “diverse perspectives and voices are heard during selection processes”.
The final task is to create inclusive cultures. The committee explained that the need for inclusive representation has never been higher and the British Fashion Council will challenge and address racism, prejudice and biases.
The fashion organisation will also promote allyship by providing toolkits that will support both businesses and individuals and address barriers to entry and career progression for underrepresented groups and, specifically, support the development of resources to recognise the influence of black culture on the fashion industry.
The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee is made up of industry and BFC representatives including Andrew Ibi, designer/artist/educator; Barbara Kennedy-Brown, founder, The Fashion Minority Alliance; Burberry; British Fashion Council; Chinazo Ufodiama, brand and communications consultant; Dal Chodha, editor and writer; Daniel Comrie, senior creative agent, Elite; Daniel Peters, founder, The Fashion Minority; Jaye Thompson, senior director global PR, Tiffany and Co.; June Sarpong, director of creative diversity, BBC; Karen Binns, stylist; Kenya Hunt, fashion director, Grazia; Lynda Petherick, head of retail, Accenture; Nina Goswami, creative diversity lead, BBC; Osman Yousefzada, creative director, Osman London; Priya Ahluwalia, creative director, Ahluwalia; Sheena Sauvaire, chief marketing officer, Net-A-Porter; Sinead Burke, activist; Toni-Blaze Ibekwe, editor-in-chief, Wonderland; Zadrian Smith, international fashion director.
This is the latest move from the British Fashion Council to fight prejudice and discrimination, as part of its pledge in June to “double” its effort to tackle systemic racism within the fashion industry, following the Black Lives Matter protests.
Since June, the British Fashion Council notes that it has appointed three new non-executive directors to its executive board, including June Sarpong, director of creative diversity at the BBC, as well as introduce diversity monitoring of initiatives and business support programmes, and host fortnightly calls with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fashion community while developing its Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee.
Image: courtesy of British Fashion Council - London Fashion Week