February 19, 2020
For the second consecutive year, Gap Inc. is partnering with Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) to celebrate and collaborate with Black fashion designers and this year we’re taking the partnership to the next level with six events and more surprises to come.
Last week, we kicked-off the partnership at the HFR Fashion Summit in NYC welcoming emerging fashion professionals along with seasoned industry leaders and influencers. At the event, Brandice Daniel (Founder and CEO of HFR) welcomed Kisha Modica (Head of Equality & Belonging) to the stage to moderate a “Real Talk” panel with Bahja Johnson (Director of Merchandising at Banana Republic), Kyra Davis (Director of Adult Product Management at Gap), and Anouar Alami (Senior Director of Global Trend Forecasting) to share the work they are driving to make our brands and industry more inclusive, stories about how the Color Proud Council came to be, and how they take care of themselves while driving work that can be emotionally and time intensive.
Davis emphasized the mutual value in partnerships like this one, “There’s huge value in the back and forth,” she said. “In addition to connecting new generations of artists to the industry, working with established brands also has huge value for someone who maybe independently owns a business and that helps Gap stay in touch with what’s trending on the ground.”
The event also featured a chat between Daniel and Jyothi Rao (President and GM of Intermix). “Don’t let your personal insecurities hold you back,” Rao advised the crowd. “If you start with doubts about yourself, you’re creating barriers. You have to have the courage to say, ‘Why not me?’. Don’t let others limit you.”
In the coming months, Gap Inc. will partner with HFR on multiple engagements including a Designer Retreat, a New York Fashion Week Designer Breakfast, and workshops with their community of creatives.
“This is such a meaningful partnership for us,” said Modica, “Black designers play a vital role in the creation of fashion trends that shape our culture generation after generation, and we’re proud to lift up their work and support a pipeline to success.”
“In an industry that has major challenges with racial equity, it's imperative that a retail leader such as Gap Inc. step up and take on this challenge by partnering with HFR to increase programming for a multicultural audience, build relationships with diverse talent, and bring a voice to a community that's historically been overlooked in fashion,” said Daniel, “Stay tuned because this will be one of our most exciting years to date!”