The future of consumer diversity is under a microscope after Gucci is canceled by T.I. and black twitter. While black people are consuming fashion and tech brands in headline worthy ways, much like the tech world, the fashion world isn’t respecting the black dollar. Truth is, many of our favorite brands do not spend money with the same black community that buys their product. With our community spending $1.2 trillion annually, we began to wonder, where are our dollars going? Let’s explore.
The Black Dollar
The rise of Black Twitter in 2017 brought the black consumer dollar to the forefront. African Americans make up only 14 percent of the population and according to Neilson Home Scan, as of 2017, a staggering 37 percent of African Americans only gross an average of $12,500 – $37,000 a year. However, in 2017 black consumers spent over $211 million of the 1 Billion in overall spending on luxury non-essential products such as watches and women’s fragrances. That’s a total of 22 percent of the total dollars spent. As the saying goes, numbers don’t lie.
The American Dollar
So why do many of the brands that we spend money with have extremely undiverse and racist campaigns? How are we the #1 buying power, while also the most underrepresented race in two of the world’s top marketplaces? What is the connection between the lack of diversity in #technology and #fashion?
China. Trends are showing China having a noticeable impact on two of the U.S. highest consumer marketplaces. Fashion and Technology. Recent trade tariffs have shown the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services with China represents the biggest trade imbalance between any two nations on the planet.
First, understanding the economic power of the American dollar as it relates to the world; then Chinas’ effect on product trade and the black dollar’s effect on both, is a necessity for us to bring change to these racist and undiverse campaigns.
The Brands We Buy
As descendants of royalty, we are people of luxury. This can be seen in our choices in fashion and technology as we tend to spend our dollars on higher-end devices like I-phones, Smart Watches and designer labels like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and more. What are these brands spending to advertise with and to us? Under the impression of the quote from a friend of mine “Louis Vuitton doesn’t advertise with black people!” We set out on a quest to answer some questions. Do the brands we support, support us?
Who Supports You?
While Gucci, H&M, Prada and have all made the black twitter cancellation list, LVMH brand Louis Vuitton has managed to dodge them by recently naming Off White Creator Virgil Bloh creative director of their men’s collection. The only other Black designer who currently helms a luxury fashion house is Olivier Rousteing who has been the creative director of Balmain since 2011. We were curious though if Louis Vuitton is also advertising and marketing with the black community. With, the recent rise of racist and demeaning advertising campaigns over the last two years, it was important for us to do the research on who actually supports our community.
Sadly, we were quickly shown exactly how far Louis Vuitton has not come in the fight for diversity in both fashion and technology. As it turns out, the theory was right, we could not find any advertising campaigns or editorials with any known black-owned or focused forms of media. Including Print, Television, Radio and Socia Media.
Support Who Supports You
How did we stumble on this info? The beginning of February, Louis Vuitton’s smartwatch, and wireless earpods became a topic of discussion with my dept and we reached out to LVMH for more information to share with our audience. A black core audience. Unfortunately, not only did they decline our story, over the 5 days we waited on their response from their women’s pr head, they created an entire ad campaign using some of our story ideas, fully equipt with new product ambassadors. Did they make sure to include a black face? No. Sadly, they did not. They did, however, have multiple Asian figures featured.
Knowing now the difference between tokenism and genuine progress, I’d have to say until they start advertising with black publications and embracing more diverse campaigns, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are canceled in my book!