Where many of fashion’s biggest brands have been slow off the mark to respond to the international protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, among other instances of police brutality, it has largely been small, independent labels moving the conversation forward. The majority of these designers were already struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet their contributions to Black Lives Matter, bail funds, and community development charities have not gone unnoticed.
The latest independent brand to offer meaningful support is A-Cold-Wall, the London-based streetwear label known for taking utilitarian staples and giving them a fashion-forward spin. Its founder, Samuel Ross, pledged yesterday on Instagram to offer £25,000 ($31,000) to support black-owned businesses across 10 individual grants, along with a £10,000 ($12,500) donation in financial aid to Black Lives Matter. Applications for the scheme are now open, with interested parties being encouraged to submit their requests via email.
In the post accompanying the announcement, Ross noted that grants will be accessible within a 12-to-72-hour window. It serves as yet another example of emerging designers using their initiative to address these issues with urgency and sensitivity—and an important reminder that global brands with the influence and capital to enact significant change are more than capable of stepping up to the plate.