Back again, and in light of July’s edition of ‘Black Pound Saturday’, we’re thinking about how to be anti-racist in fashion.
I can’t overstate this enough, having recently been on the receiving end of the sustainable worlds racial microaggressions I'm once again asking, why are black and brown brands still fighting for a seat at the table?
Why is buying from a black owned brand or business ‘supporting’ and buying from a white owned brand the status quo and just ‘shopping’? Why is white still the default and black a duty? No one wants to be racist but, that there, that is peak white supremacy. Yes, societal change doesn't happen in an instant, but if we don't interrogate our mindsets and confront our internal biases, that change we pay lip service to will remain just that.
Black and brown minority owned brands don’t need your ‘support’, we need consumers, fashion buyers, journalists, influencers, humans at large to think, look and listen, to see us as equal to our white counterparts and to understand they are not doing us a favour by patronising us, but their civil decency.
We want people to be conscious of the fact that black and brown businesses are indeed underrepresented and the only way to right this wrong is to intentionally at every point, put money into black economy, because white supremacy has robbed it for generations.
We want platforms, brands and influencers who speak of allyship to actually realise what it looks like. It means stopping and letting others perhaps less polished, less adept at creating content for the white gaze (something that I may come back to) have the opportunity to thrive. It means white owned purveyors of ‘good products’ need to realise that black and brown brands may have some catching up to do and on occasion are going to need assistance and space to make mistakes without being written off.. We don't need pity, we need empowerment in knowledge of the fact that white brands have unfairly taken a larger slice of the pie, at our expense.
As consumers we didn't get to where we are in the fight for sustainability by society just blindly walking into it. We’ve stopped, researched, listened, read, educated ourselves and are now in a position, where some of us, much like second nature, question if our purchase is sustainable, intentionally following sustainable brands, influencers, media at large to nurture and inform our choices, incorporating it into our way of life.
This is how we need to reframe our purchasing habits in relation to the pertinent question of the moment - Is it black owned?
From Glow’s inception, we’ve continually come up against an onslaught of non -support from the sustainable / ethical fashion market, with the exception of a few, the subtle disregard, snobbery, and sheer amount of potential allies who again and again choose superiority over allyship, serves to illustrate the fact that black and brown minority brands don't need pithy ‘support,’ but space to breath, and time to build momentum in an arena that has starved us of oxygen.
I recently received a polite put down from a potential partner who suffering from the blight of white privilege politely decided that we weren't worth their time, and i can wholeheartedly say, I am over and done with letting microaggressions stand when it comes to Glow.