IMPACT is the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) new, multi-faceted initiative to create opportunities for historically underrepresented and unsupported communities in fashion.
IMPACT will 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.
CFDA launched IMPACT with a talent directory powered by Creatively, the job platform for creatives in February. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to take action and create sustainable change against the social and economic marginalization of Black people, IMPACT addresses the decades-long system of exclusion of Black talent in the industry with hopes to create a blueprint for other industries to follow.
“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.
CFDA is taking an individual, company, and industry approach to building greater representation and autonomy. From the recent CFDA and PVH State of Diversity Equity & Inclusion in Fashion study and report, Black employees at the individual level report feeling less prepared for their first job search. Through a range of initiatives including open access, group mentoring, industry programming, and community building, IMPACT will support and nurture Black and Brown creatives and professionals. CFDA 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.
IMPACT’s Black Advisory Board has been instrumental in providing support in bolstering CFDA’s commitment to addressing the lack of racial diversity of the industry. Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr, Netflix chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John, US Head of E-commerce & Digital, Tod’s Group Stacie Henderson and CFDA member Martin Cooper are on the board, and Tracy Reese serves as Executive Board Vice Chairwoman.
“I am so proud to be a part of CFDA at this pivotal moment in our industry’s evolution!” said Reese, who is behind the sustainable brand Hope For Flowers. “CFDA, the IMPACT team and generous partners are dedicated to rolling out programming that is thoughtful, nuanced and targeted to achieve measurable, sustainable and positive change in fashion. We hope this ground-breaking work will set the trend for other industries.”
Added Gregory Gittrich, CEO of Creatively: “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.”