Tommy Hilfiger Makes a Major Move to Fight Fashion’s Diversity Issue With $5M Pledge

Nikara Johns

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In May, Tommy Hilfiger took to social media to speak out against racism following the death of George Floyd. “What is happening in this country is not OK,” the designer wrote on his personal Instagram account. “What happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — and countless others — is not OK. We need action. To achieve change we have to be fearless in speaking out and standing up for what is right.”

Now, the Tommy Hilfiger brand is taking the next step in its fight for justice by committing a minimum of $5 million in annual funding for the next three years, which will go toward a three-pillared platform with the mission of advancing representation of Black, indigenous and people of color, not just in the company but within the fashion industry as a whole.

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Parent company PVH Corp. announced the launch of the People’s Place Program today, which is named after Hilfiger’s first store that made its debut in 1969.

The three pillars include: Partnerships & Representation, which will enhance its diverse talent pipeline, focus on purpose-led collaborations and increase minority visibility; Career Support & Industry Access, which aims to ensure career opportunities by providing resources; Industry Leadership, which will work to create long-term action plans while committing to independent and industry-wide analyses of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“As a company, we haven’t done enough,” said Martijn Hagman, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, in a statement. “But we are determined to do better. We are taking immediate action to ensure that BIPOC communities in the fashion industry feel represented, heard and equally welcome to their seat at the table. The People’s Place journey starts now with a dedicated internal governance structure that will drive and report regularly on the long-term objectives of the platform. This is a firm commitment and first step in a long journey for what the People’s Place Program can achieve.”

Senior leadership will be appointed to direct the program, according to the firm, in order to accelerate its growth internally and externally. The People’s Place Program team is currently engaged in discussions with other industry leaders who can help advance its mission as well.

Last month, PVH pledged $100,000 each to the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy and litigation, and the National Urban League, a civil rights organization focused on economic empowerment, equality and social justice. In addition, the PVH Foundation said it would match all charitable donations from members of its corporate team based in North America, as well as retail and warehouse employees.

In addition, to address shortcomings in its internal BIPOC representation, Tommy Hilfiger has specifically launched a Comprehensive Action Plan, which will lead the company into a more-diverse working environment through unconscious bias trainings, evolving recruitment policies and practices, equipping leaders and hiring managers with tools to develop a deeper understanding of systemic racism, among other initiatives.

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