At VinoKilo, we know that Black Lives Matter. Our Black customers, partners, team and family, we stand firmly with you against racism.
We are an incredibly diverse company, something we had planned to celebrate this month across all of our socials, as it is the biggest asset to our company. We have voices and experiences here from all over the world and from different walks of life. We come together in our mission to end fast fashion and make our industry a more sustainable one. The representation of society under our roof makes us all better and influences how we conduct business daily. But we know that many members of our team have experienced racism outside of our doors. We know many of our customers have experienced racism. We know this and this is why we must do and say more- until every single member of our community is safe and happy to live anywhere in the world free from oppression, discrimination, violence, and danger, we will keep doing the work. We know we have a platform, thanks to all of your support over the years, and we should be using it for good. So this is the start. And we are open to your ideas and feedback as we know a huge part of change comes from having an open heart and mind.
Firstly, we can’t preach until we tend to our own garden, so to speak.
So what are we doing as a company:
- We are actively having conversations internally so that we can all learn about the Black Lives Matter movement and how we can all have an effect. The conversations have been enlightening, educational, and emotional. We have set these conversations as safe spaces where anything that is said there, stays there. Every question, thought, or statement is valid. We do not undermine another’s lived experience. This is how we learn. These conversations can be uncomfortable. This is important. We must explore why we feel uncomfortable and also understand our privilege. If talking about racism is uncomfortable, experiencing it is violence. We will be getting outside help to guide some of these discussions as time goes on. Deconstructing our biases leads to change and the most powerful tool to make that happen are the words “ I don’t know but I want to learn”
We are discussing how we can use our platform to support Black Lives Matter now and many more fights against social injustices into the future. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” We are not willing to be silent. We have started by publicly supporting the movement and shared where our community in Germany can lend their support through the Silent Protests. We have also highlighted Black owned sustainable fashion businesses and Black influencers. Finally, we’ve been sharing resources (which we’ve added to the bottom of this blog) on where we can all learn more. We will be doing more of all of this into the future.
- We are going to be looking at representation across all facets of the brand. Are we representing our customers at every stage of the journey?
- We are going to be doing a deep dive into our processes and policies for the safeguarding of our community, both online through the latest research in online ethics and accessibility, and at our events.
- We are going to be donating profits from everything we sell on Monday to local causes supporting the movement. We will be sharing, for transparently, who we are donating to later next week.
What can you do right now?
- Listen to Black people right now. Check in with Black colleagues, friends, and family.
- Sign petitions.. Locally and globally.
- Donate to and/or volunteer with causes supporting the eradication of discrimination against Black Lives.
- Be open to being taught without taking offense or being defensive. Maybe the tone taken to correct you feels like an attack, but remember you’re all on the right side of history and are allies. Anger, embarrassment can cloud how we react. A good reaction here is to step away from the screen to understand why you feel this, then log back in and thank them for the teachings with a promise to do better. In the same vein, if you see something that seems off, open dialogue. This is how we spread love.
- There is no “one lane” activism. It is about providing support in the way you can best. It could be speaking to your family which can be difficult, calling on your company to do better, marching down the street, or all of the above. It could be art, music, poetry, or blogs. It could be calling for change in policy, hiring more diversely, or donating money. It could be responding to people on social media to explain the cause. We all have what we can do. Don’t feel pressured into doing things for optics or trends. Find your lane.
- Call out racism when you see it. Racist banter, touching of someone’s afro hair without permission, making fun of accents…racism runs deeper than we realise and we can’t allow it in our homes or workplaces. People say, why can’t you joke? Because it isn’t a joke until no one is discriminated against based on the colour of their skin.
- Learn and teach. We have some resources we have compiled at the bottom of this piece.
- Take time out and have a break. Everyone needs recovery time to ensure this isn’t just a trend. We are needed for the long game and we can only do that if we take care of ourselves and our mental health.
A few things we’d like to end on:
We couldn’t write this without addressing our industry. Fashion has hugely benefited from Black culture and its history is one we are learning more about everyday. We know many trends and styles come from it where, often, creators of said trends aren’t properly credited or paid. We also know that Black influencers, who are huge game changers, are often paid less.
Black people are not an aesthetic.
Dear our counterparts in the sustainable fashion world, we all exist to reduce the environmental impact of fashion, for the longevity and protection of our world. We must also protect all people and pledge to never discriminate based on colour. We are capable of standing for many issues and one does not detract from the other, in fact quite the opposite given that people of colour across the world are the most likely to feel devastating the impact of climate change first.
Activism is in all of us. In our actions, our words, our hiring processes, our purchase power, our art, our writing and in so much more. So we call for everyone to join us in supporting Black Lives Matter. Mount public pressure. Across the world. Make someone think twice about assaulting or taking a Black life. It isn’t normal. But also make black people feel safe, needed and wanted so that Black joy and Black success is normalised.
- Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, By Reni Eddo-Lodge
- White Fragility, Robin Diangelo
- Black Software, Charlton D. McIlwain
- Colour Purple, Alice Walker
- Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
- Noughts and Crosses, Malory Blackman
- Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
- Beloved, Toni Morrison
- The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta
Great Twitter thread on what you can do as an Ally
Black Lives Matter
Each country has their own arm
Europe Specific race news
Melanin & Sustainable Style (@melaninass) • Instagram photos and videos
Subrinaheyinkvintage (@subrinaheyinkvintage) • Instagram photos and videos
Adele Dejak | Sustainably Handmade in Kenya