Last week’s unceremonious firing of Gap, Inc.’s design director Patrick Robinson sent shockwaves throughout the fashion industry. With so few people of color holding prominent design positions, we all wondered why, and what would be next in the struggle to retain diversity in the industry.While the official report from Gap re-imagined the parting as amicable, several unspecified reports pointed to lagging sales and uninspired design.
According to a recent Life, Inc article:
The recession also may have played a role, in part because many companies found themselves focused on issues other than diversity, said Ilene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst, which seeks to advance women’s roles in the workplace, and the chair of the Alliance for Board Diversity. She doesn’t think companies are actively seeking to exclude women and minorities, yet they may not have made a major effort to include them.
Though it seems that the general trend is to hire people who bring in proven results–regardless of race–it, the thought of one less Black person in a position of power in this industry is saddening. I doubt we have seen the last of this talented brother; it’s only a matter of time before he moves on to bigger and better things.