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The Kelly Initiative

Each day can bring a new lesson, and the last few months have been full of reminders to stay flexible and remember to listen. As we head into Juneteenth, we are keeping the momentum to elevate melanated voices flowing with one last unscheduled Thursday Style spotlight. Please continue to send us your Chicago Designer nominations! There are so many amazing and diverse voices in the Chicago design community, and we want to continue to help showcase that...

The fashion industry as a whole has historically been short-sighted when it comes to fair labor practices and equitable treatment of non-white people. On Monday, June 15th the CFDA received a letter from over 200 black fashion professionals calling for action to ensure transparency and inclusivity at all levels.

The Kelly Initiative is named in honor of Black designer Patrick Kelly, who was the first American to be admitted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter in 1988. The letter highlights a 4 point plan to "invaluably enrich the the industry via the active inclusion of Black talent across wide-ranging strata and sectors of fashion."

1. Industry Census - Disclosing and tracking racial composition of teams

2. Headhunting & Recruitment Accountability Audit - Firms will allow a comprehensive audit of their protocols and practices by a third party.

3. Annual Data Disclosure - Data from the census will be printed annually to benchmark progress.

4. The Kelly List - An annual curated list of top-tier talent across an array of fashion fields.

In addition, there is a call for a "Convened Collaboration" on or by June 19th to discuss the implementation of the Kelly Initiative. As of this morning the CFDA has yet to respond.

See the full letter here.

We invite all allies to submit their signature as well. You can find the form on The Kelly Initiative Instagram.

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