Rent the Runway Allocates $1M to Support Black Designers: 'This Is Just the Start'

Hanna Flanagan

Rent the Runway is pledging support for Black fashion designers and providing donations in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minnesota police officers last week.

On Tuesday, the billion-dollar clothing subscription service founded in 2009 voiced its support for the Black community in an Instagram post and detailed three ways Rent the Runway is contributing to the ongoing fight against systemic racism.

“We want our actions as a business to be substantive and systematic, so we are doing the slow work to build a clear and sustained long-term strategy to fight systemic racism and make Rent the Runway, and the wider fashion industry, more diverse and anti-racist,” the company wrote, alongside four slides explaining how it will initiate change.

The brand plans to donate $100,000 on June 2 —during #blackouttuesday, a social media-driven movement staged by the music industry with hopes of bringing attention to police brutality and racial injustice in the United States — to organizations “combating racial injustice” including the NAACP and Black Vision Collective.

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“We will also be allocating an additional $1,000,000 to support Black designers through our wholesale, platform and co-manufacturing initiatives, which includes providing design resources, data, mentorship and financial support to create collections for RTR,” the company continued.

Rent the Runway also committed to allocating $1 million to support Black designers, saying it is “critically important” that a significant portion goes towards “launching fashion brands from Black designers who have not had the investment capital to launch on their own.”

As a final show of support, Rent the Runway pledged to give Black models, brand ambassadors, stylist, photographers, videographers and crew members a platform: “We are committing today that at least 15% of the fashion talent that we feature and support moving forward are from the Black community,” the brand said.

"We know that the Black community is tired of the long-standing racism and violence. We also acknowledge the cyclical nature of society’s attention to moments of such injustice, so we vow to take systematic actions as a business that will last beyond this current moment in time," the brand concluded. "This is just the start, and we look forward to sharing further details on other plans soon. Our work has just begun.⁣"

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On Friday, the fired Minneapolis police officer seen on video with his knee on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed black man who later died, was been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images George Floyd Memorial Site

The cases of three other police officers present at the time of Floyd's May 25 death are still under investigation, Freeman said. But he added, "I anticipate charges" against the three officers.

The encounter between Chauvin and Floyd, 46, was caught on camera, with viral footage sparking widespread outrage on social media. In the video, Chauvin is seen placing his knee firmly on the back of Floyd's neck as he lies face down on his stomach, next to a patrol car.

Floyd can be heard in the video groaning in pain while bystanders plead with Chauvin to be more gentle. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers that he cannot breathe and says that "everything hurts." The video continued until Floyd was visibly still.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.