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The 15 Percent Pledge, a nonprofit that advocates for the representation of Black people and businesses in retail and media, has revealed two flagship participants.
Macy’s Inc. has confirmed reports that it will move toward dedicating 15 percent of its shelves to Black-owned businesses at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Blue Mercury stores. In 2019, the company generated $24.6 billion in sales, so a 15 percent share could represent nearly $3.7 billion in annual sales for the Black community. Macy’s is the largest company to commit to the pledge thus far, joining a roster of retailers including Sephora, Rent the Runway and West Elm.
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“Macy’s Inc. is proud to add our voice to the 15 Percent Pledge, amplifying our commitment to accelerate the growth and advancement of Black-owned businesses. We believe in this work and know we have more to do. Bringing more diverse-owned brands into our assortments is a key component of our diversity and inclusion strategy and we will hold ourselves accountable for continued progress in driving sustainable change internally and within our industry,” said Durand Guion, vice president of Macy’s fashion office.
The 15 Percent Pledge was founded in June by Brother Vellies designer Aurora James, who wanted to create a program that would hold the fashion industry accountable via long-term, actionable plans toward diversity and inclusion.
“I knew after launching the 15 Percent Pledge that we would need to focus our efforts on the major department stores in order to increase representation and financial equality for Black-owned businesses here in the United States,” James said of the announcement. “With Macy’s joining the pledge and building its Black-owned brand portfolio, the department store will have a tremendous impact on the Black community. We look forward to working with them on their accountability, growth and commitment throughout the course of our partnership, as well as celebrating each win along the way.”
The pledge also revealed that InStyle magazine has signed on as a media partner, aiming for greater representation of the Black community in its pages. The title plans to highlight the work of Black creatives via photography, writing, styling and artistic projects, “to avoid incorrect attribution and appropriation.”
“InStyle is proud to be taking the 15 Percent Pledge and commits to promoting a diverse creative community. Diversity in the talent we feature has always been part of our DNA, but we must be held accountable for whom we work with and the creators we champion,” said Laura Brown, InStyle editor in chief.