In the wake of civil unrest following the unjust death of George Floyd, a whole movement has been generated against systemic racism across the globe. Companies, brands and individuals alike ask what they can do to support the black community and #blacklivesmatter initiatives.
The fashion industry has a race problem and it is about time that global fashion companies, including major conglomerates and brands pledge solidarity with the black community and tackle diversity issues within their own four walls. It is a first step in the right direction. But as Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies pointed out on her Instagram last weekend, retailers from all kinds of industries should not only stand in solidarity against racial injustice but actively support black-owned businesses.
In Italy, where Carola Zeta is rooted, racism is just as present. The Italian fashion industry is predominantly white. That is why it's our duty as an Italian e-commerce to educate ourselves and use our platform to support BAME creators. As Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian National Fashion Chamber put it in a Manifesto earlier this year, “If global companies want to represent the world, they must welcome diversity and look beyond their own borders.” The fashion industry has a responsibility to its customers and society at large to drive systemic change.
Besides being actionable by donating money to charities and signing petitions, we can also show our solidarity to black-owned fashion labels and help our customers to find and follow these brands on social media and purchase pieces from them. As a way to drive change and to be actively anti-racist, we can use our platforms and help black-owned brands to scale and reach broader audiences.
We know it’s not enough, and small steps won’t right any wrongs, but we need to start the journey somewhere, and take measures toward a sustainable process of educating ourselves and not looking the other way or remain silent when faced with racial injustice. Allyship should involve which brands we decide to promote.
For those looking to support black-owned businesses, we have featured the below brands and creators, whose products you can shop here on Carola Zeta.
Fear of God
Fear of God - Nylon Vest with Hood
Fear of God, founded by Jerry Lorenzo, is a luxury streetwear label and a leading online destination for men's contemporary fashion. Despite having no formal training in fashion, Jerry Lorenzo decided to set up his own clothing line, which he self-funded with $14,000 of savings, after becoming a father. Since its launch in 2013, the brand has garnered the interest and support of Virgil Abloh, Kanye West and Gucci’s Michele Alessandro to name just a few. His vision of luxury with streetwear inflections has also led to a creative partnership with Italian luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna for a capsule collection to be launched in the fall of 2020, merging Zegna's tailoring expertise with Fear of God's elevated streetwear. Last week, the Fear of God founder also took to Instagram announcing that his brand had created a shirt in tribute to George Floyd, with 100 percent of the revenue going to the Gianna Floyd Fund. The design is a spin on the “FG” shirt from Lorenzo’s sixth collection but with the letters flipped to “GF” to match Floyd’s initials. In his post, Lorenzo shared a heartfelt message about the racism he’s experienced in his own life.
Shop Fear of God here on Carolazeta.com
Martine Rose - Logo Print T-Shirt
Martine Rose established her eponymous subculture-influenced label in 2007. Since then the label has evolved from a tightly edited shirting collection to an internationally renowned and critically acclaimed brand. Inspired by her Jamaican-British heritage and her deep interest and personal involvement in the music and the different cultures of London, community sits at the heart of the company. ‘Style is really important in a Jamaican family,’ she told ES Magazine in 2019. ‘People would always make all sorts of assumptions about you anyway, so the message was: don’t give them the opportunity to. Always put your best foot forward. It wasn’t what you bought, it wasn’t how much money you had, it was about your personal style.’ Rose has become known for shaping the greater fashion aesthetic with her prophetic, often political collections, which have led to a design consultancy role on menswear at Balenciaga, where she majorly contributed during the first few seasons of Demna Gvasalia’s reign.
Shop Martine Rose here on Carolazeta.com
Heron Preston - NASA Puffer Jacket
After rising to fame as a member of Been Trill and a design consultant on Yeezy, fashion industry's streetwear darling Heron Preston launched his own workwear-tinged, graphic-heavy brand. His eponymous label is a representation of the myriad of creative outlets that make Preston tick. Apart from being an extraordinary designer, he is also an artist, DJ, consultant, art director and sustainability advocate. His varied sources of inspiration come through in his utility-minded streetwear pieces, which showcase his way of perfectly blending culture, art and music into his designs. Preston told Farfetch in 2018 that he describes his label as “workwear inspired, luxury streetwear with a New York point of view.”
Shop Heron Preston here on Carolazeta.com
Off-White - Nylon Jacket
As the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, Virgil Abloh is one of the most important people in luxury fashion. But it's his own label, Off-White, which he established in 2012 that has been named 'the hottest fashion brand in the world'. Before he founded Off-White, Abloh was creative director of Kanye West's creative agency DONDA. A prolific collaborator, Abloh has a long list of high-profile fans and collaborators and even after his ascent to artistic director of Louis Vuitton, his brainchild Off-White continues to deliver dynamic and forward-thinking collections.
Shop Off-White here on Carolazeta.com