Over the past two and a half months, as much of our country has lived in quarantine, we’ve witnessed the violent loss of black lives with disturbing frequency. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have died at the hands of racists and law enforcement. Complex Networks recognizes the power of its platforms and is committed to amplifying their stories and the voices of our communities to work for justice.
This week, a slew of clothing brands posted black squares on their Instagram accounts to participate in "Blackout Tuesday." Although this gesture was made to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, it often felt empty. For some of the world's biggest brands, this was unfortunately the only way they addressed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Acknowledging the countless number of innocent black men and women who have been murdered by racists and law enforcement officials for decades is important, but these posts and press statements condemning racism aren't enough.
Although there are hundreds of changes that need to happen—such as enacting concrete diversity plans and addressing the exploitation of people of color within massive supply chains—brands have recently planted one foot in the right direction by putting their money where their mouth is. While many brands have released T-shirts to raise funds for the cause, a number of brands have directly donated money to various organizations or have even launched funds to support black designers. Here's what some brands are doing to foster racial equality. Complex strongly encourages our readers to also step up and make donations to various organizations across the country. A full list can be found here.
The British clothing brand, A-COLD-WALL*, has shared a receipt of a $11,859.30 donation it's made to Black Lives Matter. Additionally, the brand announced that it will dedicate £25,000 to give out £2,500 grants to 10 black independent businesses. Black business owners who are interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zac Clark, the founder of the popular streetwear brand FTP, posted this receipt for a $15,000 donation to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Surprisingly, the food bank declined his donation because of the expletive word within FTP's name.
Jason Dill, the founder of the skateboard brand Fucking Awesome, posted this note pledging that his company would donate $20,000 to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Historically, Patagonia has been a leader in corporate and social responsibility. The outdoor brand announced that it made a $100,000 donation the the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Prior to this, Patagonia's Action Works platform has promoted enviormental justice and voter-turnout groups. This Februrary, the brand released District 15 a short documentary focused on youth activists fighting oil drilling activities in communities of color in Los Angeles.
Zach Kinninger, the designer behind Basketcase, which was featured in ComplexCon's 'Brands To Watch' space in Long Beach last year, stepped up to the plate with a $10,158 donation to Black Lives Matter. Read more about the young Los Angeles designer here.
Alife was one of the first streetwear brands to take any sort of action in light of these recent current events. On Ahmaud Arbery's birthday, the New York City streetwear brand released a hoodie with Arbery's name. Alife raised $18,500 by selling the hoodie and announced that it would it all be donated to Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones.
Resonance, the sustainable manufacturing platform that works with brands such as Pyer Moss, announced that it would award 10 black designers $50,000 along with business and manufacturing services to launch or build their own brands. According to the Business of Fashion, winners will be announced by the end of June and the company plans to have products by these designers on their platform by August of this year.
Savage x Fenty
All three of Rihanna's business ventures–Fenty, Savage x Fenty, and Fenty Beauty–shut down its webstores for Blackout Tuesday. So far, Savage x Fenty and Fenty's Instagram pages have pledged to donate to four different organizations. Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Color of Change, Movement for Black Lives, and The Bail Project.
After Virgil Abloh faced some significant backlash for his comments on the looting of Round Two's Los Angeles store—and for posting a meager $50 donation on his Instagram story—Abloh addressed these criticisms with an apology he posted on Instagram. Abloh clarified his thoughts on the protests and also shared that he has donated $20,500 to bail funds and other causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Abloh said he will continue to donate more money throughout the year. Abloh also emphasized that he has a history of action. This includes designing football uniforms for refugees in France, revitalizing a Boys & Girls Club in the Westside of Chicago, launching a fashion program for at-risk youth in Chicago in 2017, and launching a similar platform to empower black designers earlier this year.
424 on Fairfax
For the past couple days, Guillermo Andrade has kept 424 on Fairfax open for protestors. The store has been giving out toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, sanitary pads, protein bars, juice boxes, and basic medical supplies to protestors in Los Angeles. The store is also giving out blank black T-shirts for anyone who comes in need of a change of clothing.
Uniqlo has collaborated with the American Civil Liberties Union and has pledged to distribute $100,000 in funds to various organizations that support the black community.
Last week, Eric Emanuel released a new pair of shorts and donated a portion of the proceeds to George Floyd's family. This week, he decided to temporarily take his webstore offline and encouraged others to donate by posting this splash page with a simple and direct message.
Palace Skateboards has pledged to donate $1 million throughout 2020, starting with donations to Black Lives Matter and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
Jordan Brand is pledging to donate $100 million dollars over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education.
Brain Dead has released several products to raise funds for various organizations. This includes Black Lives Matter, Know Your Rights Camp, The NAACP Legal Fund, People's City Council, M4BL, and the LGBTQ Fund. With just one T-shirt release, Brain Dead has already raised over $500,000.