IS THE LUXURY INDUSTRY ACTING AGAINST SYSTEMIC RACISM?



With the upheaval of many states and countries across the world taking to the forefront of the streets to protest against global injustice for racial diversity, we are looking broadly at those signalling their efforts to stand against segregation and those choosing to stay silent.

So which bracket is the luxury industry sitting in?

Throughout the years, luxury fashion has transformed drastically and has undergone an up upheaval of integration of plus size models, gender neutrality and promotion of the LGBTQ community. Looking at the recent Chanel cruise 2020/2021 collection there is a clear non-bias attitude to its model representation, however although many of these super brands are at the forefront of our daily consumption, not all seem to tell the tale of changing times.

Many family owned fashion houses, both internationally and domestic based still promote a vision of one colour prominence, looking through many marketing campaigns and social media channels it seems some luxury fashion brands only recognise the importance of diversity at fashions shows, where models such as Naomi Campbell, Winnie Harlow and Nyakim Gatwech take centre stage to showcase the latest lines.

Luxury fashion in many cases has an ethos of retaining smaller sizes to accommodate its largest consumer, the Far East. China in particular take lead on worldwide luxury goods consumption, therefore it seems it also takes precedence at the designing table too. The broad luxury industry is one denoted by secrecy and privacy of its high end often elaborate client base, however when it comes to marketing to its audience it is very strategic in its approach. Most brands neither promote or hide their brand narrative toward racial inclusion, which in turn dispels a slightly confusing message, especially when at a time like this we are all rooting for a united front in standing out against racism.

It seems in modern day luxury, the more contemporary and present-day brands are capitalising on standing for equality and enforcing change, economically it has been previously known that the older generation would have more spending power, so could in turn direct the pattern of consumption. However now in the digital age, the Millennial generation are able to sit within millionaire category and position there spending abilities towards the brands making an impact and adopting revolutionary change.

As we move into a new stage of humanity, from enduring the world’s worst hit tragedy of Covid-19 and global movements such as the George Floyd, Black Lives Matter campaign, we hope to see modern art excel in themes of creative courage, we hope to see a more integrated Formula 1 team in the future and we hope to see horology design change their marketing campaigns to promote equality. The luxury industry has always shown hinderance and societal unrest to new adaptation, with previous offence caused by Gucci’s ‘blackface’ sweater and Prada’s monkey trinkets, however moving forward with perseverance whether a micro or minuscule action, we aim to take them together.

In the vein of amplifying black owned businesses, here are a list of my favourite luxury brands I’ve recently discovered.

Black lives matter.

Black businesses matter.

Monrowe NYC - Luxury Handmade Hats

Gilded - Luxurious Custom Candles & Skincare

A.Sauvage – Menswear suiting

Soca Yacht Charters – Boutique travel agency, Caribbean

Tiffany Brooks Interiors – Luxury Interior Design

Marlene Barnett - Contemporary Artist

Lorraine West Jewellery – Unique Jewellery

McBride Sisters Collection – Wine Collection

Pat Mc Grath Labs – Luxury Makeup