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The Fashion Geek Podcast

41 | Tiff is That You?

Reg welcomes back Tiff (who got tired from all that online shopping) and they talk about her disappearance, racism in fashion and the CFDA (and the people and organizations coming after it). You may not be woke after this episode but you’ll be aware.

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00:00 Introduction and Sponsor Message
00:21 Meet the Hosts: Reg and Tiff
00:34 Catching Up After the Hurricane
01:37 Tiff's Online Shopping and Offline Life
02:49 Pandemic Reflections and Personal Challenges
04:18 Navigating Through Fear and Uncertainty
12:20 The Impact of Two Pandemics on Fashion
20:20 Fashion Industry's Response to Racism
25:05 Barriers to Entry in the Fashion World
29:53 Addressing Gatekeepers and Unseen Issues
30:40 Call to Action: Frameworks and Data
31:48 CFDA's Response and Initiatives
34:14 Mixed Reactions and Criticisms
41:54 The Kelly Initiative and Patrick Kelly's Legacy
50:29 The Role of Fashion in Social Change
55:34 Concluding Thoughts and Future Discussions

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Reginald Ferguson [00:00:01]: The fashion geeks are hosted and powered by Blueberry. Tiff [00:00:04]: That's Blueberry, b l u b r r y. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:07]: Thinking of launching a podcast? Want your episodes to be deployed smoothly? Go to, type in the word fashion, and get a deal on us. Tiff [00:00:15]: Just put in the word fashion. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:17]: Blueberry Always host Fly. Hello. I'm Reg. Tiff [00:00:23]: And I'm Tiff. And we're the fashion geeks. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:25]: Trying to make New York Tiff [00:00:26]: and the world Reginald Ferguson [00:00:27]: New York is the world. Tiff [00:00:28]: A little flyer, 1 outfit Reginald Ferguson [00:00:29]: And podcast. Tiff [00:00:30]: At a time. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:35]: Yes, we're back. We just underwent a hurricane. Welcome, Isaiah's, to Brooklyn. I'm Reg, search is behind the board, we're ready to do this thing. Woah. Woah. Wait a second. Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:56]: First of all, that laugh, you sound like Pugsley. Oh, is that the character? Of Wacky Racers. Tiff [00:01:08]: Tiff, is that you? It is me. It is here. Is it I mean, it is I. I am here. That's what Reginald Ferguson [00:01:14]: I was gonna say. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. You're definitely rusty. Tiff [00:01:18]: Yeah. I'm Tiff. Glitch I'm glitchy. I'm a little glitchy. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:21]: A little glitchy? Okay. Tiff. Yeah. Woah. Holy cow. What are you what are you doing here? Tiff [00:01:28]: I'm coming into the modern times, and, I'm learning how to, To to to Skype and Zoom. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:36]: Wow, very good. I mean, I've been telling all our listeners who have inquired that you've just been online shopping, so how's that going? Tiff [00:01:45]: I thought that was very cute, but, no, I am not shopping. I, I Yeah. Just, you know, just sort of offline. I've been offline. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:59]: Okay. Well, what does that mean? What what were you doing? Tiff [00:02:03]: A lot of, sleeping, eating, Drinking, you know, all those fun things, avoiding. What is it? Wake me up when this is over? That's kinda, sorta what I was doing. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:22]: Oh. Well, it's still going on. Tiff [00:02:25]: I know it. I can't sleep anymore. I'm done. I'm woke. Really? Reginald Ferguson [00:02:31]: I think that's a different woke, Tiff. Just Just wanna help you out there, so you don't get busted. Tiff [00:02:39]: Yo, you can bust. That's alright. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:41]: No. No. No. I'm I'm just pointing out. So, wanna wanna help you along the way. So Tiff [00:02:47]: So what have I missed? Reginald Ferguson [00:02:49]: Well, I mean, Tiff, it's kinda like, you're missus Van Wimpel, Wrinkle. Well, we, we've had a pandemic, 2, in fact, Tiff [00:03:04]: yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:06]: We've done some episodes, I don't know, in your in your Cocoon, because that sounds kinda like what you were doing. I mean, Tiff, we haven't spoken in months. Tiff [00:03:17]: No, we haven't. Well, That's not true. We've texted. We've called. Have we called? I don't know if you called. We've called. You called Reginald Ferguson [00:03:24]: me you called me once on my birthday. Tiff [00:03:26]: Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:27]: Which even the listeners didn't know it was my birthday, but, yes, she called me on my birthday. Tiff [00:03:32]: And, texting. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:33]: We've texted. Yes. Occasional to text. Tiff [00:03:36]: And you've been sending me lots and lots of reading material. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:40]: Yes. I mean, that that was going on pre pandemic. But, difference is you kinda you kinda You went off the grid, Tiff. Tiff [00:03:51]: I did. I did. It, it's a lot. There's a lot A lot happening. And, let's just say that, I got to a point where I couldn't Process anything anymore. It was so much. I can't think of it any other way than that. Yeah. Tiff [00:04:16]: I was like, what the hell is going on? Felt like one thing after another. One, Reginald Ferguson [00:04:24]: you Tiff [00:04:24]: know, with everything going on in the world. With the 2 pandemics, it was just overwhelming, I don't know how else to say it. It was With, you know, having to be stuck at home and my my previous social life being completely shut down, being outside completely shut down, and, no work to be had all at once, and then with, the the Black murders that have happened, on camera, that has gotten this whole nation and the world Outraged, happened, and it's kind of like, what's next? The locust? I really, I went down a little rabbit hole thinking it was the end of the world. I have to be honest with you. I was kind of a little, Afraid For Myself. My husband was definitely afraid for me, but it was kind of like, oh my God. And then, you know, then you hear Stories. You read stories about murder hornets are on the way, and then you're like, those are the locusts. Tiff [00:05:30]: It doesn't have to be locusts. It could be murder hornets. They're on the way. So, yeah, it's, it's been a lot, Rich. It's been a lot. And, it's, I don't know. I was challenged. I was challenged to find a way to participate, different than I've ever Participated in it. Tiff [00:05:51]: I don't know. I feel like I'm going into a real kind of gray communicative area here, because I've also not communicated a lot with anyone, so it's kind of like, how do I know how do I do this again? How do I how do I talk to people? You follow? Reginald Ferguson [00:06:10]: Well, you put one word in front of the other, that, that's the start. Tiff [00:06:15]: And that's funny because that's kinda sorta how I got started again. It's not 1 word, but 1 foot In front of the other. I was trying to keep my sanity. I think you know I was doing this when we were doing the last podcast that we did Was, you know, keep in mind my physical health and mental health in check by walking 3 miles a day. And, of course, I couldn't do that because, Yeah. Once the city shut down, it it became sort of iffy with the lack of information, you know, about how this COVID 19 was being spread and things like that. In the beginning, it was kinda sorta, well, you can't do this and you can't do that. Oh, but you can do this and you can't it was confusing. Tiff [00:06:58]: So Just to be safe, you know, I stayed in. But, yeah, not I would listen to stuff, music, podcasts, Our podcast, things like that, and that just all stopped when I stopped walking. So that's kinda sorta what happened. I started walking Was it last week? Was it last week when I contacted you? Reginald Ferguson [00:07:20]: Yes. Tiff [00:07:22]: Yeah. And I was like, holy cow. Great 2 episodes. I I listened to your 2 interviews, and I just it was amazing. It was great, and it kept me walking. So, yes. I've been listening to our podcast when I walk now. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:39]: Oh, thank you. We had 3 interviews, but I'm Tiff [00:07:42]: glad I did not listen to the last one. What is it? Episode 40? Reginald Ferguson [00:07:47]: Yes. I believe so. Tiff [00:07:48]: Yeah. Because I haven't walked since then, so it's kind of It's like I'm I'm kinda you know, I'm I'm getting back on a little bit at a time, so so here we are. Alright. But I did take a walk this morning around the corner after the, hurricane that went through. We got, yeah, as you know, I live on the park, and, Tons of tree limbs everywhere. Kinda scary. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:16]: Why did you even go outside? I mean, it's hurricane. Tiff [00:08:19]: Well, I wanted to check my car, so Reginald Ferguson [00:08:23]: Well, I'm glad I'm glad you're safe, because I'm sure you heard what happened in your borough, So Tiff [00:08:30]: No. What are you talking about? Reginald Ferguson [00:08:32]: A man was in his car. Tiff [00:08:34]: Oh, the tree that fell on the car, yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:37]: Yeah. Tiff [00:08:37]: Yep. He's he did pass. Yeah. Unfortunately. Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:42]: I think for me, We had our big hurricane a few years ago. Even then, Because as a New Yorker, every year, we have threat of a hurricane, we always shrugged it off, until our big one a few years ago. Yep. Sandy. And even then yes. Sandy. And to me, it's always been to the vision of Hollywood. So This is a hurricane? No. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:13]: My my my vision of a hurricane is Key Largo, Humphrey Bogart. Tiff [00:09:17]: Oh, really? I never saw that. I never saw that. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:20]: For real. Which they're stuck in a hotel, the palm trees, and it's a black and white flick. So, I've always expected that as my reality. And it's not like that at all. But the point is, One thing I've learned is you gotta stay inside because Tiff [00:09:41]: these trees and just items -There was, I was looking on Instagram. A kiddie pool was was was, Like, essentially, up in Reginald Ferguson [00:09:53]: the clouds in downtown Brooklyn. Tiff [00:09:56]: What? Oh, my God. Well, we we were under a tornado watch. You know that, right? Right. No. No. I mean, this is really, My whole point is it's really something to take seriously. Yes, it is. And I did I was taking it trust me, it was after everything was over. Tiff [00:10:10]: The winds had died down to a Certain extent, that I went outside. I don't know if we were in the eye because the winds kicked up again after that in a big way, And it sounded like a freight train was roaring by my house at one point, but, there was no train. That was the wind. I have, I was like, oh my gosh. You're right. You don't living in New York, you're like hurricanes. Hurricanes are for Florida or Louisiana, but no. Yeah. Tiff [00:10:39]: And they said, I was listening to our local radio station, 10/10/Winds. I love it. They said that the wind speeds were up in the area, where we had not seen them since Sandy. So Wow. I was kinda like, wow. But I'd already heard that the lack of water. You know, we're gonna get some storm storm surge, but, yeah. My backyard was flooding a little bit, but it wasn't It wasn't coming up to the door, which has happened before, so Reginald Ferguson [00:11:07]: Right. Tiff [00:11:07]: So we're all safe now, it's gone by, but there's a lot of limbs, a lot of cleanup to And, yes, we did lose a life. Yep. But nothing compared to the the Southern East Coast. They've, they've got hit bad. But it's always interesting. New York. Hurricane in New York. Who knew? Reginald Ferguson [00:11:25]: Yeah. Yeah. Now we know. Tiff [00:11:28]: I mean, it's like the locusts. What else gonna happen? Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:11:31]: Okay. Okay. Okay. Alright. Alright. Let's let's steer you back to Tiff [00:11:36]: circling back. Get me out of Get me out of the end of the world. It's not the end of the world. It's not the end of the world. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:44]: No. Not as we know it. So but, to your point, there's been a lot going on, so let's let's let's get into it, Tiff. Tiff [00:11:53]: Alright. Do it. So Bring me in. Bring me in. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:56]: Oh, let's bring each other in. So you've acknowledged the 2 pandemics. I'm I'm flattered that you were listening. So you I know you have, a lot of things you wanna talk about, so Let's, let's do it together. Tiff [00:12:14]: Alright. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:14]: I know you wanted to talk about passion and racism. Tiff [00:12:19]: Yeah. Well, I gotta tell you part of my challenge in the beginning, you know, with the pandemic. First of all, the pandemic shut everything down. And I'm like, what's the point of a fashion podcast in in in this time? It's a pandemic. Oh. I mean, What? What? In fashion? We've got more important things that are you know, and who's gonna wanna listen to a fashion podcast? That's the first thing I said in my And then and what does fashion and pandemic have to do with one another? And then the whole everything that's happening with the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the many, many souls before them and after them. It's kinda like Fashion and and what's happening in the world with police brutality and and and all of that? What what What what what room is there for fashion? You know, I just couldn't I couldn't see see what you and I do here on a regular basis Being something that could be relative to what was happening in the world. I couldn't I'm sorry Reginald Ferguson [00:13:20]: to hear that. Tiff [00:13:21]: Yeah. I couldn't bridge it in my mind. I and it's be you know, I've taken a lot of time to think, a lot. I've been thinking a lot, which is Kind of bad for me to think too much, because my brain takes me into some strange places, but what I found was, something that came up was, a feeling of helplessness and rage, All intertwined together. I don't I I I don't know how better to to speak that, you know? It was just I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I was just I was astounded that, what was happening in the world was actually happening because similar to your Your comment about hurricanes, you know, my experience with being, I don't think I even felt this way After 911, to be honest with you. Tiff [00:14:26]: I think, where I went these past couple of months was In a place I'd never been before, and I don't I just I didn't know how to function. And all of these things were happening around me, and I was like, but I had so much to say, and I had so many feelings about and thoughts about things that were happening, but I just couldn't Speak. Does that make any sense? Sure. Sure. It was kind of one of those, I guess you it's a place in fear. You go to this place in fear where you are just, rendered speechless In a way. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:05]: True. Tiff [00:15:06]: And I couldn't say I can't believe this anymore. I couldn't say it. I can't believe what's going on. I can't believe this. I I can't believe this is happening. How can this be happening? So, yeah. And so it's like how can I learn to communicate again? How can I learn to speak, without rage, without anger and sadness? Because you You know what you and I do on this podcast, and listening to it helped bring me back, was we entertain. We entertain, but we also teach. Tiff [00:15:43]: We also enlighten the world in men's fashion, and right now, the world of men's fashion, the world of fashion Has been absolutely turned upside down by the 2 pandemics. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:59]: Right. It's a societal effect. I mean, We educate. We also invigorate. So while you were trying to figure that out, I felt from the get go, You know, between COVID and then and then racism, you know, through very specific, specific events, pardon me, that this if anything, Tiff, the welcome back is this is a platform for us to talk about those things. And, hopefully, you heard on the interviews how we did that. Tiff [00:16:35]: I did. I did. That's why I was, like, yo, Reg. Hey. Hi. I'm alive. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:42]: You stopped shopping. Tiff [00:16:44]: I I stopped quote and unquote shopping. Oh, it's kinda Funny. I did a couple of times put things in my basket online if I was looking at things. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:53]: Yes. Tiff [00:16:54]: But but I I didn't. I, yeah, I just left it in my cart. And, you know, and some some places keep them, your items in your cart, like Amazon. That stuff can stay in your cart forever. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:05]: Yes. Tiff [00:17:05]: But, then other other online shopping places dump my car. Now I go, see what it's meant to be. They dumped your Reginald Ferguson [00:17:13]: It's on the virtual floor. Tiff [00:17:15]: That's right. So it's kinda like, yeah, I did a little, quote unquote window shopping online, but, yeah. It didn't require me to speak. How about that? Reginald Ferguson [00:17:27]: There you go. We have good deals out there. Tiff [00:17:30]: Yeah. Yeah. Well, also, you know one of the other things I was dealing with, and and and so were, I think 6,000,000 Americans. I think it's set the number now of Americans on our unemployment Was yeah paying bills with money that I I had no job. I have no job. So it was kind of like the bills are still coming, and, but the income was not. So Reginald Ferguson [00:17:55]: Right. Tiff [00:17:56]: That was the, that was another downside I was dealing with, because as you may have experienced, I'm not sure, It took me an entire month to go through this process, of getting on unemployment, and I wasn't even a 100% sure I was going to get there because I'm part of the gig economy, which is, you know, I didn't have a full time job. I would do I would do be a hired hand For events here and there, so Sure. You know, whether and traditionally, you could not get unemployment for that, So I was panicking and freaking out, but, thank you thank you, New York state government, for, And also, we'll have to thank the federal government because I also qualified for the pandemic unemployment assistance as well. So that changed my world. That changed my life, you know, once I could get, you know, it's it's interesting when you can't pay your bills for the first time, I guess since 25 years ago when I was a starving artist. You know, it's it's interesting. So Anyhow, I couldn't buy anything because I, got to pay the bills first. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:11]: Understood. Yeah. It was a figurative shop. Tiff [00:19:14]: Yeah. And, I mean, seriously, one of the things we're gonna talk about is what's the point of shopping right now? What's the point of fashion? What's the point of when we're not going anywhere? We're not I mean, some folks have returned to work, I guess, but For the most part, you're not going anywhere, are you? Reginald Ferguson [00:19:35]: Well, I was gonna say, I think I can explain that, so let's, but Let's Tiff [00:19:39]: Let's jump in. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:40]: Yeah. Let's get into, the first topic that you were interested in. So you wanted to talk about fashion and racism, and you wanted to talk about issues of, inclusivity, and you were talking about data, and you were talking about education and opportunity and leadership. Yes. So, I know you highlighted 3 articles, and I figured, particularly on the whole welcome back tip, Let's just break these articles down, see where they take us. What you got? Okay. Tiff [00:20:11]: Well, I one of the things, I was challenged with is, which you and I have discussed on the podcast in the past is how does how does the fashion industry Deal with this pandemic of racism, and the thing is, it's it's been an epidemic, the whole time the United States has existed, if you think about it. It's been an epidemic. The racism has always been here. It's always been an issue. We've talked about it in the past Sure. With, different clothing pieces that, go, what the hell were they thinking? You know? Or, you know, why is this happening? Those kind of things. But now and and and, fashion brands, industry itself. They were putting out, all kinds of, statements of inclusivity and this is has to change and we're gonna have a diversity board and And this and that and the other thing, and that's what a lot of the high end not retailers, but luxury brands that got called out, or, you know, even big box brands. Tiff [00:21:27]: They were, you know, working on this issue of racism that's, ingrained in the world but more most particularly in the fashion industry and with the current climate There has been, what can I say, unprecedented, exposure To what what's really going on? It's it it it's coming out of the shadows And, and in a good way and a bad way, if you ask me. I mean, I guess to deal with it, it has to come out, but Goddamn. I'm sorry. Oh Jesus. It's ugly. See, Brad, just what I was worried about. My language, so I take that back. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:21]: Keep on. Keep it on. Tiff [00:22:22]: Alright. Sertz, you can you can ding me out of that. Right? You can bleep me, give me a little bleep. So, yeah, I was like, It now more than ever, the fashion industry is really going to have to step up to the plate. No more just making a statement. No more, They're gonna have to, I'm trying to think of the brand that we talked about that that they decided that they were going was it Gucci? They're gonna they're gonna have a diversity board. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:52]: Yes. Tiff [00:22:54]: And, you know, everything, I guess, they draw up, Literally, will be looked at and considered, is this racist? Is this what does this say to you? But that's not enough. It's just not enough because when I said education, Opportunity and leadership. What I was talking about was, what I Gathered from these 3 articles I I read was that, you know, it's gotta start from the bottom up. The racism, there has to be more education about racism, And the fact that it does exist, and it is existing, and it it has existed, and it's not gone. It is not gone. And there also has to be education, provided for people of color In in areas where traditionally it has not been, and opportunities as well. There has to be opportunities for Upward mobility in the fashion industry for people of color. This has not existed before, and I well, I it has we do have people of color, at the top of the industry, but You can count on the number of fingers and toes how many there are, in ratio to To white people. Tiff [00:24:24]: There has to be more color in the fashion industry. I mean, it's the fashion industry. You want color. Right? Which brings to mind, I I extrapolated a Statement. I mean, a quote that I really liked from one of the articles, and it says, undoubtedly, It is not inclusivity, but exclusivity that drives fashion, from the VIP culture of the front row, To the nepotism and lack of transparency surrounding recruitment for the most elusive roles and opportunities in the industry. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:01]: Right. That's the, that's the Coker piece, I believe. Tiff [00:25:05]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:06]: Yeah. I wanna I wanna chime in there because I feel, also, to be candid, it's it's also it's also top down. Because If we talk about the Coker piece, and I don't know if you read the, the white paper, the panic panic study. Tiff [00:25:24]: I did not. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:25]: So and and just for our listeners, the Coker study and the Reid white paper, this is across the pond. This is coming from the UK. Obviously, there's a nice mirror to what's going on here. It's not necessarily 1 to 1 as a ratio, in terms of things we're talking about. But the relevancy is is gladly apparent. The the issues in the UK through fashion that mirror what's going on in America, particularly if you read that white paper, is the whole issue of pull yourself by your bootstraps. Which to me, is the greatest fallacy that's given to people who look like me. Tiff [00:26:07]: Right. Work hard. Just work hard. You earn it, then you'll be there. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:12]: Everything's gonna work out. Tiff [00:26:14]: Right. Exactly. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:15]: But that's really not that's really not the case. And Coker's Coker's point, and, again, that that read the read study. I'm sorry. The panic study. Pardon me. What what they both bring forth, I think, for discussion's sake, but really, for policy, is People need to understand, the ones that are empowered to make decisions are actually the individuals who are saying, Just work hard. Right. The whole point of meritocracy. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:49]: And that's really that's really erroneous. Coker brings up in her piece, which I really like, and it doesn't matter if it's in the UK, because we're gonna talk about stuff here in the US, and people have the same arguments. This can't just be a issue of emotion. This has to this has to lead by data. And that's what's really important. We need we need numbers, we need quantification. So, you know, when you talk about that quote, I think it illuminates something that certainly that certainly happens in America too. Hey, if you wanna get down, you're gonna have to take unpaid internships. Tiff [00:27:32]: Right. Plural. Correct. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:36]: Heck, I remember when I was in undergrad at NYU at Stern, I had an opportunity, I rarely discuss this with anyone, I had an opportunity to work for MTV, which at the time was the only thing I wanted to do. Tiff [00:27:54]: Right? Nice. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:56]: Because outside of fashion, I love music. Yeah. So I had the interview I still remember where I was. It was across the street from the new Nordstrom at, what was that? 59th. So, it was one of the Broadway buildings. So and they were, like, yeah. Oh, we like it. We'll bring you on. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:20]: Yeah, it's an unpaid internship. Tiff [00:28:22]: Yep, there you go. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:23]: I just remember nodding. I was like, Oh, I'll get back to you. Tiff [00:28:26]: Yeah. And, as I took Reginald Ferguson [00:28:29]: the train to my grandparents, I said to myself, There is no way Then my grandparents are going to understand this. Right. That, hey, I want to work for MTV, is a great opportunity, and I'm not gonna get paid. They would've looked at me like I had 6 eyes instead of 4. Tiff [00:28:50]: I mean, it's similar, and acting as well. I can tell you I've probably done more unpaid shows than I did paid ones. It's, it's inherent in that industry as well. What is that? What is that about? We want you to work your butt off, and we're not gonna pay Reginald Ferguson [00:29:10]: you. Well, I mean, what it is, it's an entree for individuals Who can afford to do that? Right. People who can afford to do that are not working class people. Tiff [00:29:21]: Correct. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:23]: They're just they're just not. So, that's that's an issue that Coker brings up in her piece. Also, Just the whole which is emblematic, regards to the industry, the whole pay to play. If you want to get down with the British Fashion Council, a membership costs a certain amount of pounds. And it's really expensive. It's like buying the Tiff [00:29:48]: panels and Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:50]: Again, it's it's barriers. It's barriers to entry. There's a tiered pricing structure for events. So these things are issues, and the problem is the individuals who are the Gatekeepers have a tendency not to look like me. They look like you. They don't see the problem. Tiff [00:30:11]: Right. Because they can't see the problem. It's a blind spot. They choose Reginald Ferguson [00:30:14]: well, they choose not to. It's a blind spot. They choose not to. Tiff [00:30:17]: Yep. When because I got theirs. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:21]: Right, and listen, to me that's a New York thing, too. I got mine, get yours, but Right. The thing is, it's not an inability, it's an unwillingness. Tiff [00:30:31]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:31]: There lies there lies Tiff [00:30:33]: the difference. Distinctions. That's a dis that's a distinction. That is absolutely true. Agreed. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:40]: So, right, so her whole outcry is disproportionately, we're not in the game. We're not in the game at a senior level, at a director level, so, You know, we have we have to do things and have a call to action to adopt specific frameworks that give communities of color an opportunity, and back it up by data. Tiff [00:31:12]: Yes. Data. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:15]: Really? Yeah. That's what's really key and critical to these movements. Right. Because the numbers emotional from the gut. Tiff [00:31:24]: No. Numbers don't lie. Numbers do not lie. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:27]: Exactly. Tiff [00:31:29]: I know someone who needs to, hear that over and over again. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:34]: I would definitely recommend our listeners though, Check out the, panic white paper. Tiff [00:31:41]: Do you have an an address? I don't have that one. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:43]: I I don't have it in don't have it in front of me but Okay. Again, you know, just Google it. They're listening. Okay. So, now let's talk about CFDA. Let's let's go across the pond back home. Tiff [00:31:58]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:59]: So, let's talk about that. So So CFD. All the listeners. Yep. It's the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Tiff [00:32:08]: So, Reginald Ferguson [00:32:09]: why don't you give me your thoughts and feelings what they've been trying to do since the pandemic. Tiff [00:32:16]: Well, since you're a member, I think you have a, a better Reginald Ferguson [00:32:19]: A few Tiff [00:32:19]: of it, but I'll tell you what I'll tell you my layman's term, of what I gathered, and I can't get into the article because, It's a New York Times article, and I haven't subscribed, so Reginald Ferguson [00:32:33]: Oh, I mean, I mean Tiff [00:32:35]: But my takeaway is They, they they met as a council, and Said we need to do something. There has to be something there there has to be something done, practical, within the fashion industry to address this issue. It just is not getting addressed. It's not we're not going far enough and this and that the other thing. And they put together a statement, which I can't even paraphrase because I I haven't even read it recently. I read it a couple of days ago, and I can't, I don't even wanna try to paraphrase it. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:12]: No, I, yeah, I mean, I can chime in. Essentially, the statement was, and first of all, let's be clear, The chairman of the CFDA is Tom Ford. Tiff [00:33:22]: Tom Ford. Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:23]: Yes. Tiff [00:33:24]: So Go ahead. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:25]: Statement center was having a clear voice and speaking out against racial injustice, bigotry, and hatred is the first step, but it's not enough. And then and then they had 4 bullet points. Initiatives. If I recall. And it was like an employment program. Tiff [00:33:44]: Oh, you're talking about the Kelly Initiative? Reginald Ferguson [00:33:48]: No. No. No. I'm talking about I'm talking about CFDA. I will we'll get into we'll get into Kelly. We should I think we literally should do it in this order. So Right. So, yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:58]: That, From from my recollection, that was that was the beginning of the CFDA statement. Tiff [00:34:06]: Yes. They, you know, they proposed, You know, we need to, you know, speak about this, and talk about that, and include this, include that, and it, it sort of Went over like a lead balloon, right, wouldn't you say? Reginald Ferguson [00:34:22]: I think, I think it received a mixed response. Tiff [00:34:26]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:27]: Well, because Some people were down. Tiff [00:34:30]: Yeah. Some people were like that sound to say. Some people weren't down. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:34]: So let's break that down. Tiff [00:34:36]: Alright. Go ahead. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:39]: Well, I mean, Virgil was down. Virgil was up. Tiff [00:34:44]: He was down. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:45]: He was down. So, Tiff [00:34:48]: Sounds good to me. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:49]: Yeah. Prabal Gurung. He was down. Tiff [00:34:53]: Sounds good to me. Yep. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:55]: I tell you who wasn't down. Tiff [00:34:58]: Go ahead. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:59]: The boy from Pierre Moss. Tiff [00:35:02]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:02]: Kirby Jean Ramon. Tiff [00:35:04]: Do you have his quote? Do you have his quote? Reginald Ferguson [00:35:08]: Nah. But he was like, yo, this is wack. So, that's, that's what I remember. I mean, he was like, It was watered down. Tiff [00:35:17]: Yes. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:19]: Yeah, like watered down bubble gum. Tiff [00:35:21]: That's, that was the exact, well, almost the exact quote, yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He was like, I'm Reginald Ferguson [00:35:26]: not down with this watered down, bubble gum ass statement, not even, Not even helping us. Tiff [00:35:32]: Right. I have it in front of me. The CFDA posted on Instagram they wanted to I'll elucidate quickly. One one part, they would create an in house employment program specifically charged with placing black talent in all sectors of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. Right. And that program would be tasked with identifying Black creatives and pairing these individuals with companies looking to hire. Right on. They will also create a mentorship program and an internship program focused on placing black students and recent graduates within established companies in the fashion sector. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:10]: Internships. Tiff [00:36:11]: Intern that you know, it popped in my head. I'm like, okay. Okay. Is that gonna be paid? The CFDA will implement and make available to our members a diversity and inclusion training program, so you have to be a member first. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:24]: Those are all good things. Right. Tiff [00:36:26]: But you have to be a member first when you're just talking about membership, not money. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:30]: That specific thing. Yes. Tiff [00:36:31]: Yeah. We will make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at Equalizing the playing field for the black community such as, but not limited to, the NAACP and Campaign 0 among others. I'm not familiar with Campaign 0. I gotta check that out. Lastly, we urge each and every member of the CFDA To take stock of their corporate structure to ensure that they have a racially balanced workforce, and we challenge the retail sector of the fashion industry to ensure that their roster Of brands and their product assortment is representative of the black talent within the industry. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:11]: That's a wonderful segue, because let's talk about that. So, Aurora James, who, she's the creator of, Brother Velez. Mhmm. She has this thing called the 15% pledge. So, For the listeners, and maybe even you, Tiff, I'm not sure if you're aware of that. So I'm not. It's a lovely dovetail. So She wants she wants to implement the 50% pledge, which means that every retailer out there should devote 50% of their shelf space to products that come from black creatives. Tiff [00:37:54]: Wow, I love that. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:56]: Yeah. Black, you know, black designers, blah blah blah blah. See, again, numbers. Quants. Tiff [00:38:05]: Let's see it, not just hear it. Not just Reginald Ferguson [00:38:06]: the strict right. It's not the strict emotion. Tiff [00:38:09]: Yeah. You Reginald Ferguson [00:38:09]: know, we're gonna do the right thing. And holding these people accountable. And again, the people who are accountable don't look like me. Right. So, I think that's a, I think that's a great opportunity. But, let's continue talking about CFDA. There's beef. So not everyone's down with what Tom Ford put out. Tiff [00:38:35]: Right. Although this is let's point this out. This is a statement from the board. So the board A statement from the Reginald Ferguson [00:38:42]: board essentially means a statement from the membership. Tiff [00:38:45]: Right. Well, that's what it's supposed to mean. Right? Reginald Ferguson [00:38:47]: That's what it's supposed to mean. I mean, I literally That's Tiff [00:38:50]: the point I'm trying to make. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:51]: Okay. I'm sorry? Tiff [00:38:52]: That that this board statement doesn't necessarily ring true for everyone on the board, or Everyone in the membership. Reginald Ferguson [00:39:00]: Within the membership. Yeah. So, on on the board, in the membership. Tiff [00:39:05]: But the problem, I from my point of view, I think the problem was it's it's, lip service, right? Reginald Ferguson [00:39:16]: That doesn't seem to be lip service. And listen, I'm not it's not about me defending the c f d a. So, I'm not dissing Well, Kirby said, my point is this, which I think we're gonna delve into. No one is a monolith. We are not a monolith, so I think what we're going to Tiff [00:39:42]: And by that, what do you mean? Reginald Ferguson [00:39:44]: Well, meaning, we're not just 1 body, 1 voice, 1 action Right. As African Americans, as people of color. So I have no beef with what the CFDA is proposing. It all sounds good to me. It absolutely does. Tiff [00:40:03]: Right. It does sound good. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:06]: And, and as long as it's implemented and paid attention to from a quant standpoint, then we're fine. But for these other groups that we need to talk about, You mentioned, the Kelly Initiative, we'll dive into that. Blacks in Fashion Council. There's beef. So meaning people in the crew of the CFDA are forming splinter groups with their own separate agendas, and part of their agendas is calling out the CFDA. Tiff [00:40:41]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:42]: Okay. That's fine. I don't really have a problem with that. Tiff [00:40:47]: That's well, that's how the change happens. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:49]: Well, my my point is for the reason that I just mentioned. We are not a monolith. So, if they're saying according to according to mister Jean Ramon, He he said, okay, they did some stuff, but they didn't do everything, so he wanted more. Tiff [00:41:13]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:13]: He wanted he wanted the board to speak about police brutality, for example. So, there's a lot of things that that can or could be done. But, I think the good news is, which we should delve into a little bit deeper, there are these splinter groups now. So, like I said, I mean, the pledge itself, the 50% pledge, I don't deem that to be a splinter group. I deem that to be an initiative. And I'm down with that. I like that. Blacks in Fashion Council, that's a different steez. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:52]: I like I like that, too. So, but let's talk about let's talk about the Kelly Initiative. So, what do you know about the Kelly Initiative? Tiff [00:42:04]: It was written. I'm trying to call it up right now. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:07]: Alright. I mean, if you want, I'll I'll I'll continue. I just wanted I just wanted to give you, Tiff [00:42:11]: Yeah. I just want to keep Reginald Ferguson [00:42:12]: the floor as well, but Tiff [00:42:14]: I totally had it. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:15]: Alright. So the Kelly the Kelly Initiative first of all, I love the name because the Kelly Initiative is in tribute to the late Patrick Kelly. So, We've never talked about Patrick Kelly in previous I think maybe we talked about him in 1 episode. Tiff [00:42:33]: I think so. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:34]: No. We haven't at all. It's funny. I Tiff [00:42:36]: don't think so. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:37]: I can't I can't because of it's because of chronology and nothing else. I've never put him as a fashion hero because he was he was kinda before my time. So but I'm well aware of who Patrick Kelly is. So, the Kelly Initiative, I just I love that. Because it's about it's about the spirit. It's about history. It's about influence. Patrick Kelly, now, I always remember I remember, like, his buttons. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:07]: His buttons were cool. They were like black polliwogs. And, that was a spin on the antebellum images of the black Sambo. I freaking I freaking love that. I remember him with the bicycle cap. I I just I totally remember him, but I was a kid. So that's why we really haven't talked about him. He is the first brother that got inducted into the, Chambre Syndicard du Petit Porter. Tiff [00:43:39]: I am so impressed that you said it like that, Reg. Good job. Oh. Yay. Okay. I was looking because I'm looking at it right now, and I'm like, oh. So And I took 3 years of French, so Reginald Ferguson [00:43:51]: I just live in New York. So, my mom was really into him, also the late Willie Smith, you know, Willie Ware. So, These were people I was a kid, and I was learning about this stuff through my mom. Also, Stephen Burrows, who's still around, denim designer. So so this Kelly this Kelly initiative, they gotta have beef. They have beef with the CFDA. Tiff [00:44:20]: Yes. I just wanted to read, at his funeral, Gloria Steinem, She is said to have remembered him as quote, an outsider who brought the outside with him, and then eliminated the outside inside division for everyone. So I Reginald Ferguson [00:44:37]: can't speak about him so intelligently, but clearly, he was a game changer. Yeah. I guess I remember I remember him as a kid. So but like I said, I was a kid. Tiff [00:44:47]: Right. 1988, he was inducted into this, Shoppers Yeah. With you, Kyle. That's a long time ago. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:54]: -Yeah, it was. It was. So they had beef with the CFDA, and they're like, Yo, you're not doing enough. And it's a it's a strong organization. So I like that, because, again, it it the truth is one that paths are many. So I understand if the c f d a is on the defensive. I understand that. But really, if you just think about the things they have done, I think they've done a lot, and now this is a great shining moment for them to try to do even better. Tiff [00:45:42]: I agree, And I and I've, I'm gonna go back to your talking about there's different factions splitting off within the CFDA. I'd like to think of it, in a way as working groups. And, you know, the sum of of The the whole the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That's that's the see, I can't even communicate when trying to talk. I think that's the saying. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but the sum of the parts Is important as well, because each part is literally that, a part, and It's important for the whole, and it brings diversity, In communication, diversity in practice, diversity in anything and everything. I'm trying to do you understand what I'm trying to say, Reg? You get what I'm saying? Reginald Ferguson [00:46:47]: I believe so. So the thing about the Kelly Initiative, which I like is that they're challenging CFDA. Tiff [00:46:52]: Yeah. They're saying we can go further. Let's do that. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:55]: They're talking about numbers. They want them to do an industry wide census, so they can get demographic information. Tiff [00:47:08]: Which is data. Yep. And data is good. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:13]: Right. Right. And have companies that that whole employment thing, they want numbers for that. And then, they don't want the CFDA to audit themselves. Oops. Tiff [00:47:24]: No. I mean, come on. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:26]: No. No. No. No. Right. Exactly. It's the pod It'd be Tiff [00:47:28]: like the port authority. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:29]: It's the pod yeah. The pod's guarding the hen house. So So, but I like I like what they have to say. So, and that crew was created 2 2 of the creators of that crew, they have a podcast. And, I wanna check them out, because they look really heavy. Tiff [00:47:51]: What's the name of the podcast? Reginald Ferguson [00:47:53]: Oh, I can't remember. It's, The Creators, I think. Tiff [00:47:57]: Okay. I'm trying to find. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:00]: Yeah. So it's by 2 of the 3 founders, Jason Campbell and Henrietta Gallina. So, I like I like what they're saying. So, we need metrics. We need metrics. Tiff [00:48:21]: I love metrics. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:24]: Well, that's good, Because they need to be the friend of the cause. Back home businesses constitute essentially less than 2% of total retail sales Tiff [00:48:37]: here in America. 2%. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:40]: Like 1.3%. Essentially, off the top of my head. Versus over 85% for white owned businesses. Tiff [00:48:51]: Wow. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:52]: But, yet, we comprise 15% of the population. So, there's a disparity. Tiff [00:48:57]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:59]: So the holders of the power in the institution, they have to make a change if they really wanna fortify, what they put on an ad. Tiff [00:49:12]: Right. They gotta put, they gotta put, action behind their words. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:16]: Yeah. Tiff [00:49:18]: It it calls to mind another article I said to you, that's titled, and I just love this, Woke Washing Your Company Won't Cut It. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:28]: That, I think, will be for our next episode, Tiff [00:49:33]: Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:34]: Because I wanna I just wanna see I wanna give that proper, you know, space for you to to discourse however you want. Tiff [00:49:42]: Okay. So But no, I love that. I've never heard that saying, and I read it. I was like, oh, my gosh. That's it. Because I've called it lip service, you know, you can't Reginald Ferguson [00:49:52]: You call it what you want, I mean Tiff [00:49:55]: Right. But that's what it is. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:56]: The interviews I've done while you've been gone, we've talked about it. Because it's head it's head scratching stuff. To have a black square on Instagram I understand the symbolism. Tiff [00:50:09]: Yep. I Reginald Ferguson [00:50:10]: get it. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. But is this is this ephemeral? And are you making a are you making a profit off the symbolism? Tiff [00:50:21]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:50:24]: That's the, that's, that's, that's really, that's, that's the issue. So, Let's talk about the Black in Fashion Council. And they're they're new, essentially. Right? So they're like, hey, We got somethin' to say too, we got beef. Okay. So, but what I like, what they wanna do, they wanna operate as an umbrella organization for any initiative that's coming down the pipe. And, again, numbers, Tiff [00:50:58]: they wanna be creative index. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:00]: I'm sorry? Tiff [00:51:00]: Provide oversight? Yeah. Making sure there is accountability. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:05]: Right. They wanna actually have a scorecard for brands. Tiff [00:51:11]: I love it. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:12]: Putting them on notice. Hey. How are you doing? Tiff [00:51:15]: I got a I got a quote here. For its 1st endeavor, the organization is asking fashion companies to pledge to work with the group for at least the next 3 years To help build a quality index score reflecting black employee representation and other factors. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:33]: Exactly. They wanna do an annual report. They wanna do a report card. Hey. It's just like here in the city, for the restaurants that are fighting to remain open. Tiff [00:51:44]: Mhmm. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:44]: You get a a, you get a b, you get a c. Anything lowery, they close you down. Tiff [00:51:50]: Yeah. I won't eat in a b. I only eat in a's. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:53]: I know people like that. Well, right Tiff [00:51:54]: now Well you're right now you're eating part of the restaurant Industry, so You're Reginald Ferguson [00:51:58]: eating at you're eating at home right now. Tiff [00:52:00]: Yeah. I am. That's such a Reginald Ferguson [00:52:01]: good Hopefully, all your food is an a, and if it's a b, then you should Step outside. Tiff [00:52:06]: Oh, dude. You know it's a a over here. Oh. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:11]: I've heard rumors. Tiff [00:52:15]: All good. All good. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:18]: Ladies and gentlemen, the points that we're making here is that, yes, Passion has a strong role in what's going on nowadays. It just does. Tiff [00:52:33]: It does. And it it's like Everything these days are about fashion, you know? If you think about it, we What do we do every day? What's the one well, there's a lot of things we do every day, but one of the main things we do every day is we get dressed. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:53]: Sure. And Tiff [00:52:55]: how we get dressed, what we choose to wear, how we choose to be seen. It's all part of the communication. It's all part of, the world as a whole. Going back to my parts to whole conversation, because I'm I'm I'm Absolutely convinced I'm gonna make sense of this in a minute. So Reginald Ferguson [00:53:16]: Okay. We're home stretching, so make it happen for yourself. Tiff [00:53:20]: I got to. I gotta make it Abacus, otherwise, I, you know, I think everybody knows they could tell now that, I got a little dust in the attic right now. So but, Yeah. It's it's kinda like you step out your door saying something without opening your mouth, Due to what you are wearing. And that's how fashion can make a difference in The one pandemic of racism that we're dealing with today, and that's what brought me back, because I was like, yeah, we can do this. We just have to figure out how. And when I say we, I mean, I'm putting my pinky toe in because I I I take part in a fashion podcast, and I shop usually on a normal basis when things are not in a pandemic, scene right now. But, it's also the fashion industry can take the lead And actually create change, not only in its own industry, but it can set an example for other industries to follow. Reginald Ferguson [00:54:32]: Absolutely. Absolutely. This is a great this is a great opportunity. And I'm not trying to sound cliche. It just really is. It's an epic of time that's not gonna be forgotten. Tiff [00:54:44]: Oh, no. Reginald Ferguson [00:54:44]: And this This crew this crew of folks, they're all about numbers. This is not about gut. This is not about emotion. I know I keep on bringing that up because it's really important. Tiff [00:54:59]: Well, it's important that you keep bringing it up because that's how our detractors say Poo poo. Oh, it's just you're being emotional. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, it's it's not a real thing, you know? It's it just doesn't exist. No, the numbers will show the disparity, for sure. And it's important, yes, that you keep saying it. Reginald Ferguson [00:55:20]: Education, access, opportunity, accountability. Oh. Tiff [00:55:27]: Accountability. There you go. Love it. Reginald Ferguson [00:55:33]: Alright, Tiff. Tiff [00:55:34]: I feel like we just Reginald Ferguson [00:55:35]: It was Tiff [00:55:35]: great. We scraped the iceberg, I feel like. I feel like, dude, there's, like, So much more to talk about, but I know. Well, why don't We don't wanna we don't wanna, you know, go on forever. I got it. Reginald Ferguson [00:55:48]: No? Why don't we, why don't we see, if you can string it along, and maybe we'll bring you on for another episode. Tiff [00:55:55]: I would I would like that. I would like that, if you if you would like that. And I'll practice. I'll practice between then and now. I need to get back back back on my podcast bike. Reginald Ferguson [00:56:07]: Right. Gotta get it in fighting shape. If you like it, Tiff, I love it. Tiff [00:56:11]: Aw. You did say that once, and I like that. Reginald Ferguson [00:56:15]: I mean it. Tiff [00:56:16]: Alright then, let's do it. Reginald Ferguson [00:56:18]: Alright. I'm Reg. Tiff [00:56:21]: And I'm Tiff. Reginald Ferguson [00:56:22]: We'll see you next time, and remember, always Tiff [00:56:27]: Always be fly.
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