British luxury retailer MatchesFashion has launched a statement of solidarity with the black community following the protests for change under the Black Lives Matter movement after the tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
MatchesFashion new chief executive Ajay Kavan, who joined the retailer in March from Amazon, took to social media to share what the company is going to do within its organisation to ensure it is more inclusive, including the formation of a Black Employees Forum, looking to increase the diversity of the designers it retails, and how it can attract more black people to its business.
“Like so many, I have followed recent events with mounting horror. I believe what counts right now is tangible and lasting action. As our new chief executive, I am determined to do all I can to make our business more inclusive, and today I can announce the first three steps,” explained Kavan in the statement.
“First, we will raise our consciousness and accountability by listening harder,” added Kavan. “I have started to consult with a number of our black colleagues, and I was distressed to hear them share some of their experiences. At the suggestion of one of our colleagues, a Black Employees Forum is being established. The forum will enable us to continue to consult with our communities and work with them to put into action a racial equality learning programme across the business over the next few weeks.”
The second initiative Kavan announced was to “achieve greater diversity” among the designers it retailers, looking at adding designers from minority backgrounds who he claims have been “under-represented in the fashion industry for decades”. He did also quickly add that addressing this imbalance wouldn’t “happen overnight” but it will “do more”.
To add accountability to ensure more black-owned brands are represented on Matches, Kavan also confirmed that it would begin publishing an annual breakdown of the designers its supports by ethnic background. The first disclosure from the luxury retailer will be by the end of August.
The final step he added will be to “work harder to get better representation of different communities at every level in our business” by setting the company new goals and measures to attract people from the black community, as well as committing to publishing an annual breakdown of colleagues at different levels of seniority by ethnic background.
Kavan concluded: “These are modest measures but I believe they will make us more conscious as a colleague community, more accountable as a management team, and ultimately a better business.”
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