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#BLM - PD's Longterm Plan

In today's post we wanted to share more from a internal point of view and what we are doing behind the scenes here at PD HQ when it comes to the movement. 

We originally started in early June, just after the death of George Floyd by asking the team to join together for an initial meeting. We didn't set a specific agenda to begin with as we just wanted to see what the team actually had to say, their feelings and thoughts to all that had happened so far, how they felt towards the movement as a whole but also from a workplace point of view. We spoke about what we were doing well from a brand perspective and what we could improve on, both short and long term. The following info is what happened from the initial meeting until current day.

Here are some of the points discussed: 

Use a wider range of models across the website.

More diversity across influencer collaborations.

Ensure inclusive content is shared across all platforms.

Discussions about projects, social plans, campaigns and all brand strategies with more POC to ensure their voices are heard. Our intentions are always in the right place but it can be hard to be sure we are doing the right thing. 

Although there is a wide range of diversity within the PD HQ team, we could definitely benefit from hearing more feedback and advice on what we are doing. We need to make sure we’re truly understanding from people who understand it the most.

How can we make these changes moving forward?

Use a variety of models when it comes to ecomm & social shoots. To use even more dark skin models, models for all skin tones. Not just one type of skin tone to speak for all. 

Begin even more collaborations with a variety of new influencers. 

Ensuring social content is suited to ALL. 

To be more inclusive behind the scenes with projects not yet live we should look at setting up a focus group, discussing brand strategies, social plans and campaign ideas on a regular basis so that we are taking a conscious step forward to being more inclusive. 

Who would we contact to be in a focus group?

The focus groups would be made up of consumers, people we know, friends, influencers, maybe even some black owned brands so that their voices are heard.

The next step was to begin by just asking for some general feedback about both Public Desire and also fashion as a whole from POC who are friends, family etc. people some of the team know personally. Here are some of the key replies: 

"If I see a brand that is pro black, I'm more likely to buy from that brand".
If a brand is practicing what they preach, I’m more likely to buy from them. I don’t think all fashion brands are aware how big the market is for people of colour, especially the black community.

"Fashion brands as a whole need to be more inclusive". 

We just don’t see enough black faces or POC in adverts, campaigns and on any platform that a fashion brand markets on. When using other diverse models brands shouldn’t have to shout and point out that they do have ‘diverse range of models.’ Brands do not need to specify that they are diverse they just need to act on it and include without having to scream about it.

"Fashion brands need to realise that minority groups & POC are one of the biggest consumers". 

You need to make sure that when making products it’s inclusive to ALL. For example, the shape of clothing and sizing of the footwear needs to be considered to fit ALL body types/leg shapes/skin tones. If there is a nude product on the website it needs to come in LOTS OF SHADES! POC shouldn’t have to go out of their way to search on loads of different websites and fashion brands just to find something that will fit a skin tone other than white. When the product is going through the design process and sent out to production etc, this needs to be something that is considered and not an afterthought.

"Don't just use the same black model every time".

There is more than one type of black woman out there. Also mixed race is not black! That’s where people go wrong as well, that’s a completely different type of woman, by using a mixed race girl that’s only speaking out for mixed race women not black women, that’s different.

After this initial feedback, the team then shared a survey to a wider selection of people to answer. The questions included were as follows: 

1. How do you think fashion brands can improve on being inclusive of people of colour?

2. Do you feel Public desire are inclusive when looking through their website?

3. Do you feel like POC are represented on the PD social platforms?

4. What would you like to see from PD as a brand to improve generally when it comes to being more inclusive?

5. What can PD do as a brand to support BLM?

6. Do you feel like there are things other brands are doing well that PD should be? 

From the questionnaire the main things to reflect on were: 

To be more inclusive in the workplace and behind the scenes.  

Use more black models - Not just one type of model & have a mixture of black models onsite. Don't just use the same black model repeatedly. 

Have an equal split of influencers who we work with.

Donate to #BLM and charities related to. 

Create a Black Lives Matter highlight reel on Instagram that is continuously updated. Ask the PD followers to send over their fave black owned businesses, fave influencers etc. that we can then share.

Product wise - More colour options particularity when it comes to nude as not all one shade fits all. This would also include style and sizing of product too.

Supporting people of colour at all times, not just when it is seen to be 'trending'. 

Another amazing point made by one of the internal social team was how brands are donating or creating a fund to help students or anyone wanting to start out and work towards being a part of the fashion industry. Especially helping POC because the thing that separates incredible members of staff from the recognition they deserve is opportunity.

"We should look at hosting internal workshops for POC & giving tips on how to create the perfect CV, how to dress to an interview, how things work on a day to day basis at a fashion company and how the design process works from start to finish. It would be no different to having internships or having a student shadow us for the week. This would be only for POC to show that we see this is an issue and there should be no fear of being rejected from us at Public Desire if you are wanting to apply to work here. Unfortunately because of systemic racism, a lot of POC fear of rejection from brands. We need to shake off that fear and show that we’re letting people in with open arms and not discriminating. Creating internal workshops would be a great way of doing so".

So, that brings us to current day, four months after the original conversation about what PD should be doing differently. We have acted on all of the issues mentioned so far, some are further along than others but we fully understood that would be the case and are pleased we can focus on this long term, this is a change we are proud to be apart of 💕 
To share our progress so far.. 

To begin using a wider range of models across the website was something we actioned quickly. As you will see from both the onsite imagery and PD socials, we are proud to say we have increased the skin tones shared across all as well as suiting each and every element of what goes out on social to suit ALL. This is of course something we will be continuing. 

Influencer wise, although with did already work with content creators worldwide covering all nationalities and skin tone, we have made a more conscious effort to target many more POC. Since doing this we have seen a big increase when it comes to coverage figures and percentages meaning you will of seen a lot more POC influencer imagery reposted on the PD social channels too.

Focus groups, like a lot of other things COVID 19 has had a huge effect on not only PD but the fashion industry as a whole. In terms of large scale campaigns and projects a lot has been put on hold ATM. We have continued to keep up to date with friends and family who are POC to keep the conversation up about the content we are putting out and keep it under constant review. This is done still in the style of a focus group just on a smaller scale than we originally suggested however we do intend to increase the figures of the focus group as larger scale projects, events etc. begin to pick back up over the next few months.

Internal workshops are something we have began to plan in, for the moment once again due to coronavirus this will be done virtually in the style of Zoom meetings hosted by Sabrina who is our Social Media Exec here at PD. We have began the process on starting up these workshops and you will see them advertised once all set to go.  

We have continued to update the #BLM highlight over on Instagram ensuring we are sharing as much up to date, current info as possible. We took a strong focus in sharing as many black owned businesses (especially smaller ones) as we can, with a reach of 1.6 million on the PD Instagram we know even one Instagram Story share could help so will be continuing to do this.

As we mentioned, we know the progression and change is going to be gradual however we are proud of our actions so far and are extremely excited to continue and evolve these actions. We are only just getting started! 

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