Fashion

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support Black-Owned Businesses

Hits: 9

It’s this fearlessness and conviction that has made James such an important voice in American fashion—and given her track record of being a few years ahead of wider industry conversations, one that should be keenly listened to as the world of luxury gears up for an unprecedented sea change. “There has been a lot of talk over the past however many months about retooling the fashion industry, and what that might look like in terms of sustainability,” says James. “But no one was really asking how people of color and black people fit into these new business models in a really impactful way. People weren’t putting metrics on that.” It’s also visible in James’s impressively rapid work to get the 15 Percent Pledge program up and running, offering a practical solution for retailers within less than a week of the first Black Lives Matter and anti-racist protests that have now spread across the world.

One element of the project James is keen to emphasize is that it’s simply logical. “I’m not actually very radical,” she adds. “I consider myself a pragmatic optimist. I’m not out here telling fashion retailers that they need to do this tomorrow, I’m saying there are three particular steps they can take.” Indeed, the proposition of 15% of black-owned businesses sitting on the shelves of major retailers as a direct reflection of U.S. demographics is really, as James previously put it, the bare minimum. “If you’re not hiring right now, or you have a small team that’s not very diverse, that’s okay, just speak to that,” she continues. “Acknowledge where you’re at and say like moving forward, I’m going to make every single effort to make sure I am interviewing three black candidates for every position from now on. This isn’t about cancel culture, it’s about holding each other accountable.”

As James so clearly puts it, the time when the fashion industry could insulate itself, or remain neutral or detached from politics, is now a thing of the past. “The real barometer of luxury today is the care that someone puts into something, and the values that a brand stands for. I’m not afraid of it, because I’m also not interested in entertaining anyone or creating for anyone that doesn’t value me as a human or my rights. I don’t want their money. I’m not a ‘sell the shoe at all cost’ type of designer, and I would never want to be. Life is too short for that.”

Shop Vogue’s Summer Edit:

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies
Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies

Shop it: Brother Vellies Burkina slides in Topanga Picnic, $285, brothervellies.com

Shop it: Brother Vellies At Home mug, $35, brothervellies.com

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies
Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies

Shop it: Brother Vellies Lijadu billfold in grapefruit, $1,295, brothervellies.com

Shop it: Brother Vellies Tyla sandals in honey, $465, brothervellies.com

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies
Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies

Shop it: Brother Vellies woven Olivia pumps, $795, brothervellies.com

Shop it: Brother Vellies Bowery Palms pumps in Yoko, $735, brothervellies.com

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies
Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies

Shop it: Brother Vellies Garden tote, $65, brothervellies.com

Shop it: Brother Vellies Tuesday mules in cloud, $485, brothervellies.com

Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies
Aurora James on Her 15 Percent Pledge Campaign to Support BlackOwned Businesses
Photo: Courtesy of Brother Vellies

Shop it: Brother Vellies Luci sandals in raspberry, $465, brothervellies.com

Shop it: Brother Vellies Dandridge sandals in Fieldfire, $465, brothervellies.com

Continue Reading

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 3 =