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British Fashion Council creates Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee

Lauretta Roberts
16 September 2020

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee as part of its long-term plan to fight prejudice and discrimination in the industry.

Made up of industry and BFC representatives the committee's role will be to address key challenges facing minority communities in gaining fair representation within the fashion industry. 

Its priorities will include stamping out racism and addressing 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 set the bar for accountability and best practice for all fashion businesses, and alongside the wider BFC team to address existing programmes. 

The move comes just ahead of London Fashion Week, which kicks on in the capital this Thursday comprising a mix of digital and socially distanced shows and presentations.

On the eve of the event the committee set out its Mission Statement saying:

“The Diversity & 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."

In year one, the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group committed to: 

1. Create a D&I framework fashion businesses of all sizes can implement to reach global leading standards: The BFC will support businesses through providing practical advice and toolkits to ensure organisations can create change and measure their successes. 

2. Ensure development programmes are fair and equitable for all: The BFC will review all its current programmes, from scholarships to Fashion Weeks. In addition, the Council will look at Talent ID programmes and networks to ensure that diverse perspectives and voices are heard during selection processes. 

3. Create inclusive cultures: The need for inclusive representation has never been higher. The BFC will challenge and address racism, prejudice and biases and will promote allyship by providing toolkits that will support both businesses and individuals. The BFC will also 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.

June Sarpong British Fashion Council

June Sarpong

Earlier this week the council announced the appointment of three new names to its board including the BBC's Director of Creative Diversity June Sarpong, Roksanda CEO Jamie Gill and Scott Morrison founder of The Boom!

Since June it has also been hosting fortnightly calls with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fashion community while developing its Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee. The calls allowed participants to address challenges and start working on solutions and next steps for the industry. More than 200 industry professionals were invited to join the calls.

It has also created a Diversity & Inclusion Internal Working Group whose role is to make sure it moves the D&I agenda forward internally with a year-long strategy.

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