Though New York Fashion Week is now weeks behind us, one brand is hoping that the promises made during that time don’t go the way of overdone trends. TRESemmé launched its #WomenLeadTheWay corporate pledge urging companies and designers across the industry to help create gender equality by advancing women into leadership in different ways.
The pledge serves as an open invitation for companies to join together to make a commitment to strive for gender balance across their organizations through fair recruiting and promotion, and to establish formal development and mentorship opportunities for women at all levels of their companies.
“As the hair care sponsor for NYFW for the last 23 seasons, [TRESemmé] is using its platform to launch the campaign and create change in the Fashion industry,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Unilever Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for North America in Beauty & Personal Care. “However, this is just the beginning of a long-term commitment for the brand. TRESemmé will remain committed to providing women with investment, resources and networking they need to succeed as leaders.”
One of the brands that took the pledge is women-led Studio 189. Founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah in 2013, the artisan produced fashion brand has been rooted in uplifting and celebrating women since its inception. According to Erwiah, the brand exists as a way of empowering women.
“I have been blessed with many opportunities. Many people have worked to help me become the person that I am today and so I know that it is also my responsibility to do that for others,” Erwiah told ESSENCE. “I have had many wonderful experiences working in the fashion industry and I have had many challenges as well. I think it’s important for us to have role models and have people to help carve paths for us, crack doors open for us and help guide us.”
Studio 189 is based in Africa (with two stores—one in Accra, Ghana and one in New York City) and works with artisanal communities that specialize in craftsmanship that support the creation of the collections. They also partner with organizations such as the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, NYU Stern School of Business, and have collaborated with companies such as Fendi, Nike, and Okay Africa.
“We have an opportunity to build economic development that is greater than aid. We have an opportunity to create social impact that is sustainable and that puts people and the planet first.” Erwiah continued. “I would like Studio 189 to be an example of what can be possible. I would like it to be a brand that represents a shared heritage born out of Africa while also preserving its future in a way that is sustainable.”
We’ve seen in so many instances that when women lead, they use their power to uplift other women, empower others, and effect change that impacts the world. TRESemmé has committed to working with pledge participants to ensure they are making progress towards their commitments, and plans on holding them accountable. According to Eggleston Bracey, once signed on, TRESemmé will help companies and organizations achieve the commitments in the following ways:
- Providing pledge participants with access to subject matter experts working in the women’s empowerment and leadership spaces to support development of customized programs.
- Holding one-on-one conversations with pledge participants to understand their unique needs in delivering on their commitment.
- Facilitating closed door meetings among pledge participants for open and honest conversations around gender equality, shared challenges and best practices.
- Actioning progress reporting among pledge participants to ensure accountability and progress.
“While no one brand can fix the system, there are definitely tangible things that they can do to accelerate the pace of change and advance more women into leadership,” she said. “Seeing the difference we can make continues to keep me positive and committed to taking even bigger strides towards change, and I’m so proud of the progress our brands have made thus far.”
Individuals and companies interested in supporting the pledge can visit tresemme.com/pledge to learn more, and to access a letter template that can be filled out and issued to employers, encouraging them to make the commitment towards gender equality.