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CFDA launches initiative to nurture Black talent

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

23 Feb 2021

The CFDA has launched a multi-faceted initiative to create opportunities for underrepresented communities in fashion and addressing the decades-long systematic exclusion of Black talent in the industry.

Called IMPACT, the aim is to identify, connect, support, and nurture Black and Brown creatives and professionals in fashion, furthering CFDA’s mission to advance American fashion by including diverse talent in every facet of the industry’s ecosystem.

Nurturing Black and Brown creatives and professionals in fashion

The first initiative will see the launch of a digital talent directory and marketplace powered by Creatively, a job platform for creatives.

“This work is essential to the future of American fashion, which must be diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” said CaSandra Diggs, President of the CFDA. “The CFDA is proud to take the lead in this important effort for the industry and beyond. We launch Impact with a specific focus on widening talent pipelines and advancing career development for Black and Brown creatives and professionals. In the future, we will further the initiative to also address other inequities within the fashion system. I would like to thank Creatively for its collaboration on the talent directory, as well as CFDA’s Black Advisory Board for the guidance on this critical work.”

The initiative’s name is adopted from CFDA’s mission “to strengthen the impact of American fashion designers in the global economy.”

As an extension of CFDA’s current work around building and maintaining multi-stakeholder social impact programs, CFDA Impact will connect its 450-plus members, fashion adjacent companies, fashion institutions and nonprofit and university partners, and a network of industry professionals across disciplines and levels to full/part-time jobs, freelance opportunities, and paid internships.

The CFDA has outlined a series of tasks including open access, group mentoring, industry programming, and community building where IMPACT will support and nurture Black and Brown creatives and professionals. In a statement the CFDA said it will build a coalition of members and fashion adjacent companies that are equally committed to providing economic and social opportunities to Black and Brown creatives and professionals.

Gregory Gittrich, CEO of Creatively said: “Creatively is committed to nurturing a community that truly reflects the diversity across the full spectrum of the creative world, and we know that Black and Brown creatives in particular are often underserved. We’re fortunate to be partnering with the CFDA on this important initiative, with the goal of creating more opportunities for Black and Brown creatives and professionals at top brands.

Image source: CFDA