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Ralph Lauren and Phi Beta Sigma Launch Collaborative Effort To Increase Black Representation In Fashion

Phi Beta Sigma announced today that they have established a partnership with Ralph Lauren.

According to the press release issued by the fraternity, the partnership with Ralph Lauren Corporation will, “aim to promote deeper understanding and increased representation of Black and African American communities in fashion.”

“The two organizations have been working together since February to develop a stategy and create careen pathways and mentorship opportunities for members of Phi Beta Sigma. The organizations are also working toward developing a platform to promote dialogue about cultural awareness in the fashion industry, beginning with a conversation series that will kick off in the fall,” the press release stated.

“Phi Beta Sigma is rich with members who have extensive backgrounds in marketing, branding and organizational leadership. While the circumstances of our meeting were unfortunate, together, Ralph Lauren and Phi Beta Sigma are committed to developing a meaningful and sustainable partnership that will promote and advance inclusion and understanding in the wider fashion industry,” Phi Beta Sigma’s International President Micheal Cristal stated.

The “unfortunate” circumstances he referred to happened at the start of January when members of the Black community realized that Ralph Lauren had been selling pants with Phi Beta Sigma printed on them for 299.99€ on Ralph Lauren’s French site.

Within three hours of breaking the story on our site, Ralph Lauren issued the following statement to Watch The Yard:

“The use of these symbols on our products was an oversight for which we deeply apologize. We are immediately taking action to remove the product from our sales channels. While we have a rigorous review process in place for all of our designs, this has  prompted us to take another review of our protocols to help ensure that this does not happen again. As an American brand with more than 50 years of heritage, Ralph Lauren is inspired by many facets of American culture. As part of this, we are firmly committed to respectful and appropriate use of all cultural icons and insignias.”

Ralph Lauren has since removed the pants from their website.

In regards to the new partnership between Phi Beta Sigma, Roseann Lynch, the Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer, Global People and Development from Ralph Lauren Corporation stated the following:

“We recognize the opportunity to deepen cultural understanding and respect within the fashion industry and look forward to expanding this critical work in our business and more broadly, together with Phi Beta Sigma.”

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