Oscar-winning costume designer, Ruth Carter partners with H&M to produce a 90’s streetwear capsule. The collection will feature, bucket hats, oversized sweatshirts, sweat pants, and t-shirts and is scheduled to launch on February 13th. Items will be available for purchase online and at local select H&M retail stores.
In the past H&M faced strong criticisms from the African-American community for products it chose to advertise which depicted black Americans in a negative way. H&M’s partnering with Ruther Carter, a Black woman who is not only a cinematic icon, but also whose work has been featured in films such as Dolemite Is My Name, Black Panther, Selma, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and Amistad – all films that collectively demonstrated our strength, resilience, brilliance, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit – speaks volumes.
The limited-edition capsule “aims to inspire pride, connection, and personal expression as it spreads a message of individuality, self-confidence, drive, and determination.”
H&M could have stopped at the capsule, but they did not. A scholarship has been established at the History Black College and University, Hampton University- Ruth Carter’s alma matter. The impact of this partnership will be felt long after the last item sales out.
“This collection was created in that spirit and it serves to empower anyone with an inner creative who is passionate about nurturing their voice and determined to share their story – their art.”
H&M got it right by doing the right thing intentionally and taking actions that will last beyond the next news cycle. Hopefully, brands will not depend on controversy to propel them into being more inclusive and considerate of black culture. According to Nielsen,
- 42% of Black adults expect brands they purchase to support social causes (16% higher than the total population).
- 35% of African American shoppers are more likely to agree, “when a celebrity designs a product, I am more likely to buy it.”
- African-Americans buying power now stands at 1.3 Trillion dollars
Retailers can offend at their own peril, or be intentional with their efforts of inclusivity.