Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At the British Fashion Council, we value the differences that a diverse workforce brings to the organisation and are fully committed to the elimination of unlawful and unfair discrimination.
Our values are clear: We are forces for Change; We are United; We strive for Excellence and We are Innovative. Central to these values is the commitment to champion diversity, equity and inclusion and work together to deliver positive change.
We encourage a culture which empowers, values, nurtures, supports and rewards our employees and promotes a positive environment with a focus on team collaboration and open communication. We want our employees to bring their true self to work and we commit to developing their skills and advance their careers in a culture of creativity.
We celebrate and champion multiple approaches and points of view and believe diversity drives innovation.
Together we are building a culture based on meritocracy, openness, fairness and transparency, where difference and allyship are valued.
The British Fashion Council Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy applies to all employees, secondees, agency staff, clients, communities, suppliers and contractors, whether permanent or temporary. The policy applies to all processes relating to employment and training and to any dealings with members, customers and clients. It also applies to all applicants seeking employment with the British Fashion Council.
Read the full Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy
Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee
The Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, is an essential part of our long-term plan to fight prejudice and discrimination and galvanise the industry into action. The Committee is made up of industry and BFC representatives and its role is to address key challenges facing minority communities in gaining fair representation within the fashion industry.
The Committee’s priorities include stamping out racism and addressing the specific challenges each minority community faces within the fashion industry. The Committee works as part of the Institute of Positive Fashion to set the bar for accountability and best practice for all fashion businesses, and alongside the wider BFC team to address existing programmes.
“The Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee aspires for the fashion industry to be open for all and reflect the diverse, global communities it inspires and serves.
The Committee aims to reach this ambition by bringing together leaders in business, culture and education to create a framework which will build better, broader engagement and access for all under-represented groups; creating more opportunities and driving greater diversity throughout the industry.
Its ambition is to create true equity, increase diversity and inclusion and provide a platform to role models who will inspire future generations."
In year one, the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group commits to:
- Create a D&I framework fashion businesses of all sizes can implement to reach global leading standards: The BFC will support businesses through providing practical advice and toolkits to ensure organisations can create change and measure their successes.
- Ensure development programmes are fair and equitable for all: The BFC will review all its current programmes, from scholarships to Fashion Weeks. In addition, the Council will look at Talent ID programmes and networks to ensure that diverse perspectives and voices are heard during selection processes.
- Create inclusive cultures: The need for inclusive representation has never been The BFC will challenge and address racism, prejudice and biases and will promote allyship by providing toolkits that will support both businesses and individuals. The BFC will also address barriers to entry and career progression for underrepresented groups and, specifically, support the development of resources to recognise the influence of black culture on the fashion industry.”
The D&I Steering Committee is made-up of 4 sub-groups:
- Business policy & programme development. Aim: Create an industry standard Diversity & Inclusion Benchmark for the global fashion industry
- Education & resource development Aim: Reduce barriers to entry faced to education that lead to a fashion-related career, particularly by those facing inequity or inequality (race & social mobility groups will be looked at first)
- Mentoring & talent ID Aim: Reduce barriers to entry within the fashion industry faced by talent from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds & increase representation across all fashion pathways.
- Communications to industry and community Aim: Communicate the work of the D&I Steering Committee
Each sub-group is examined through the lens of 4 pillars:
- Disability & Mental Health
- Social Mobility
BFC announces its new partnership with 50:50 The Equality Project, an initiative created by the BBC for the media industry, as a voluntary monitoring system, with the target of creating content that fairly represents the audiences it serves, to better reflect the world around us. Find out more here.
We're proud to support the second round of Samuel Ross' Black British & POC Artist Grants scheme focusing on British POC talents within Fashion, Design & The Arts. The objective is to expand the visibility of exceptional young talents primed for academic, creative & commercial success, by offering 10 recipients a £2,500 grant.
The research phase for the different Steering Committee subgroups is underway. The BFC is committed to transparency and to share the results of the research phase alongside a plan of action to address key findings in Q4 of 2021.
On Friday 14th May, the BFC hosted a call with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fashion community to update on the progress of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy. The calls allowed participants to ask questions and feedback on the work that has been done and future projects.
British Fashion Council adopts the Halo Code
BFC announce that it has adopted The Halo Code, the UK's first Black hair code. No Black employee should have to change their natural or protective hairstyle in order to thrive at work. The BFC hopes that industry adoption of the Halo Code will move the company one step closer to a world free from discrimination, where all Black members of our community have their identities fully recognised and celebrated.
More information on how to adopt the Halo Code, can be found here.
Introduction of 'People' category at The Fashion Awards
The Fashion Awards 2020 honoured and celebrate the designers, brands, creatives and individuals who have created positive change within the fashion industry this year; from those who bravely faced this challenging period with pro-active responses to the global pandemic, showed leadership and creative resilience, to the ones who stood up against prejudice within the fashion industry and fight for change.
Caroline Rush, BFC CEO becomes Creative Ally Champion as part of BBC Creative Allies Tool launch
The BBC’s Creative Diversity Unit, led by June Sarpong launched the Creative Allies Initiative, uniting organisations inside and outside the creative industry to promote the concept of allyship. Caroline Rush, BFC CEO is amongst a number of Creative Ally Champions who have all pledged to develop the next generation of creative leaders from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in their organisations. Additionally, the leaders pledged to demonstrating their commitment to inclusion through the promotion of allyship, which is where people - at any level in an organisation - can support colleagues who may have had fewer advantages than them in life. The ambition is that many more leaders within the creative industry and beyond will also sign up as allies.
BFC’S IPF launches long term project to celebrate British black fashion & culture
The BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion announce its second project, The Missing Thread, in partnership with the Black Oriented Legacy Development Agency. The project will celebrate British Black Fashion & Culture from 1975 to now through a series of programmed events, culminating in a major exhibition in summer 2022.
The fashion industry currently lacks a resource of vital Black British contributions from a cultural, design and socio-political perspective, having erased many important historical narratives. The cost of neglecting these stories is detrimental to the industry as a whole. Going forward, design knowledge and history must be taught with an appreciation and awareness of the cultural contributions of all races to the fabric of British society.
The project is inspired by Joe Casely-Hayford who paved the way for Black designers working in the UK today and altered the course of this trajectory. This project honours the powerful legacy that he left behind him.
Launch of the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee
British Fashion Council announced the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, an essential part of its long-term plan to fight prejudice and discrimination and galvanise the industry into action. The Committee is made up of industry and BFC representatives and its role will be to address key challenges facing minority communities in gaining fair representation within the fashion industry.
The BFC has took a series of actions to fight prejudice and discriminations that include:
- The appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors to its Executive Board: Jamie Gill, Chief Executive Roksanda; June Sarpong OBE, Director of Creative Diversity BBC; Scott Morrison, Founder The Boom!
- The diversity monitoring of initiatives and business support programmes
- Hosting fortnightly calls with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fashion community while developing its Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee. The calls allowed participants to address challenges and start working on solutions and next steps for the industry. More than 200 industry professionals were invited to join the calls.
- The creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Internal Working Group whose role is to make sure it moves the D&I agenda forward internally with a yearlong strategy.