Times Square Salesmen, by marcia-oc, CC BY-NC 2.0 license ( modified)
Toronto Star writer Liz Guber and Toronto- born New York based designer Aurora James shone one heck of a bright spotlight on an issue that has hurt and boggled the minds of millions. What’s this issue you ask? Well, here it is. Why should Black and Indigenous people put up with having to buy everyone else’s products and not products from people in their respective communities when shopping in this or any town?
In the Guber article the fabulous Ms. Aurora seems to be saying, that’s crazy, a fix is required and not in the next 100 years, but now!
In a well written article in the Toronto Star Guber tells quite the story, reporting on Ms. Aurora’s 15% Pledge proposal and now growing movement.
The concept and movement had an Instagram launch initially in the US says Guber in her article. “The 15 Percent Pledge is a simple, direct request: that the racks and shelves of America’s retailers, including Target and Shopbop, proportionately represent the country’s Black population.”
It has spilled over into Canada and the stats are informative.
“Numbers don’t lie, and Lundström Halbert’s tallies revealed some sad truths. Out of Holt Renfrew’s 282 brands, three were Black-owned and zero Indigenous-run. At Simons, which carries a total of 510 brands, seven designers are Black and three are Indigenous. On the womenswear side of luxury site Ssense, 17 are Black and zero are Indigenous out of a total of 409. And at Hudson’s Bay, nine Black designers are carried along with just one Indigenous label out of a whopping 1,822. Despite operating in a country where diversity and inclusion are frequently favourably compared to that of our neighbours across the border, these figures leave very little for us to hide behind,” writes Guber.
Wow! well this is more than food for thought and action is required. Similar arguments have been made for some time with regards to the art world, but that’s a topic for another day.
Stay safe, stay healthy folks, whether you are Black, White, Asian or any variable combination.