CFDA President CaSandra Diggs Details New Initiative
Photo Credit: CFDA

Today, the latest effort from The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to encourage sustainable change across the fashion industry has officially launched.

Earlier this week, the CFDA announced its new initiative IMPACT will introduce a talent directory powered by Creatively. The contemporary job platform will connect its 450-plus members, fashion adjacent companies, fashion institutions and nonprofit and university partners to a network of industry insider experiences. “We did a study called the State of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Fashion with PVH and McKinsey,” CFDA President CaSandra Diggs tells ESSENCE. “Through that we learned from many of the respondents that there’s a lot of barriers to entry into the industry, one of those being awareness and access to opportunity.” From full and part time jobs to paid internships, CFDA’s latest project was designed with the likes to create a more inclusive job finding regime when entering the fashion industry.

“People do not know the breadth of jobs and disciplines that really go into making fashion happen. And so we thought we would start there with a talent directory to really create a centralized hub where talent can be spotlighted.” At the beginning of this month, CFDA released a diversity report in partnership with PVH in hopes to better understand how the industry can attack its the diversity complication and widen its doors for more Black and Brown professionals to thrive. The report pulled from over 1,000 working industry professionals across 41 companies, 20 stakeholder interviews, and three focus groups with students and emerging designers during fall 2020. In response, the CFDA has followed with its IMPACT initiative, aimed to broaden the reach on how job opportunities can reach the diverse class of what’s to come. “

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I think that people have taken the last couple of months to really pull back a little bit and do the proper assessment and then come back out with the programming that could work,” Diggs exclaims. The fashion president gives nods to outside organizations like the Black in Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America, describing these necessary movements as “wonderful,” genially in support of the well-needed change happening in fashion. “The fact that theres’s a plethora of initiatives bringing visibility to this issue, not allowing it to be a trend and really making sure that it’s a movement is where the change is going to take place,” she says.

The racial injustice along with COVID-19 in 2020 has positioned the industry to revisit conversations about the lack of diversity with the fashion space however, there is effort in 2021 to create tangible results, which has arguably been neglected in the past. “For those of us that have seats at the table, that’s great, but we really need the allyship and the sponsorship to be amplified,” Diggs concluded. “What I’m hopeful for is that all of these actions are not performative. It’s not just about a seat at the table, but it’s really about being able to decide what’s on the menu.”

For more information on CFDA’s IMPACT initiative, visit here.