Fashion

CFDA's State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Fashion Report Reveals Challenges POC Face

Black employees report a fundamental lack of access to opportunities in fashion.

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CFDA's State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Fashion Report Reveals Challenges POC Face

Black employees report a fundamental lack of access to opportunities in fashion.

In partnership with PVH Corp., the CFDA has released an expansive report on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in fashion. Drawing on findings from a McKinsey & Company survey of over 1,000 professionals conducted over the fall of 2020, the account reveals deep differences between the experiences of white employees, employees of color and LGBTQ+ employees in the fashion industry.

Insufficient compensation is cited as a significant barrier to entering the fashion industry. 37 percent of Black employees said they have to supplement their income, while only 23 percent of white employees reported the same. In addition, Black students disproportionately struggle to afford unpaid internships, which are often critical to securing a job in the fashion industry. Compounding these hurdles, Black students reported a fundamental lack of fashion programs and opportunities in their communities. “If they don’t come into our space, we will not have access to these opportunities…it’s hard for people to reach for opportunities they don’t even know about,” one respondent said.

In addition, employees of color reported lower rates of mentorship and advocacy compared to white employees — in fact, Asian employees reported the lowest likelihood of receiving advice during a challenging time. Black and LGBTQ+ employees experience the highest rates of workplace microaggressions including being interrupted or spoken over, being mistaken for someone at a lower employment level and being questioned in an area of expertise.

Concluding the report, the CFDA offers suggestions for companies to foster genuine diversity and inclusion. Key steps include paying interns a liveable wage, providing mentorship to employees from different backgrounds and investing in industry organizations committed to increasing diversity.

Head to the CFDA website to read the full State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Fashion report.

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