Matchesfashion’s Carlos Place townhouse in Mayfair, London. Shutterstock.
The luxury e-commerce player is the first UK-based company to join the commitment, which calls on companies to give Black-owned businesses at least 15 percent of their shelf space (a number that roughly corresponds with the percentage of the US population that is Black).
MatchesFashion said it will devote 15 percent of its purchasing budget to brands that are owned, founded or fronted by Black people by 2026. Black-owned businesses currently make up 3 percent of the designers it stocks, said MatchesFashion’s chief commercial officer, Elizabeth Von der Goltz.
The company will also work with the 15 Percent Pledge to boost representation of people of colour across the business, including creatives and freelancers, to 15 percent.
The 15 percent pledge was launched by Brother Vellies creative director Aurora James in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police last year. Retailers including Sephora, Bloomingdales, Gap, Macy’s and Moda Operandi are among its signatories. Outside the US, Canadian companies like Hudson’s Bay and Sephora Canada have also joined in.
“As the Pledge approaches its one year anniversary, it’s exciting to see our continued expansion outside of the US,” said James. “We hope that this announcement will encourage other European companies to use their financial power to challenge systemic inequities.”
In addition to committing to the 15 percent pledge, MatchesFashion has also partnered with industry collective the Black in Fashion Council and rolled out its own internal diversity and inclusion initiatives. Among other things, it’s implemented bias training and is changing its hiring practices to increase representation of people of colour, LGBTQI and disabled people within the business.
“The company has really committed to a goal in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion overall,” said Von der Goltz. “In terms of our creative content, how we represent things, the wording we use, we know we’re not experts and we want to do the best we can, so it’s finding the right partners to support our goals.”