Don’t Move the Needle on Diversity, Break It: African American Leaders Meet at Portland AAFF to Tackle Inclusion

(L-R) Stephen Green; ReeCee Hollans, sports marketing director at Adidas; Portia Blunt, director of apparel operations for New Balance; Karol Collymore, portfolio director for social & community impact at Nike; Jazerai Allen Lord, director of marketing & creative strategist, Crush & Lovely; Christopher Burns, founder of Arch-USA.

By now, many of the footwear and fashion industry’s diversity challenges are well documented.

From fashion label fallouts to athletic brand missteps, the past few months have seen many footwear and apparel brands face the harsh reality of their inadequacies on the diversity and inclusion fronts.

The executives, designers and aspiring shoe-industry practitioners who convened in Portland, Ore. over the weekend for the second African American Footwear Forum were all seemingly on the same page: No need to flog a dead horse. The industry has its shortcomings. For this gathering of the shoe industry’s minority rising stars, the focus was on tapping solutions.

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