“Black Tie. Black Designer.” That was the theme and mantra of the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Third Annual Benefit Gala honoring Tracee Ellis Ross. Held for the first time in Los Angeles, the lavish affair brought out leading women in style and fashion to help build Black-owned business revenue and increase exposure for Black entrepreneurs and trailblazers like Tracee.
Keep scrolling to learn more about the organization and its impact and to see which of your Black Hollywood “it girls” attended Saturday’s stylish soiree.
The Benefit Gala continues years of work, commitment, and vision to change systematic racism in the fashion , beauty, and retail industries and give deserving brands a chance. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs may be under attack across sectors. Still, the Fifteen Percent Pledge keeps its ‘foot on the industry’s necks and sheds light on pervasive problems with fashion-forward partnerships and collaborative programs.
All thanks to a Black woman named Aurora James.
Aurora James’ Fifteen Percent Pledge brings culture to store shelves nationwide.
Aurora launched the org in May 2020, calling for companies to dedicate 15 percent of their shelves to Black brands. Twenty-nine companies – such as Macy’s, Sephora, J. Crew, Nordstrom, and the Gap – have committed space since the initial call, and the organization continues to grow in size and impact. Nearly $500,000 in grants were presented to Black-owned small businesses this weekend.
Four years in existence, and everyone is taking notice. As WWD reported, now is the time for the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s “Hollywood moment.”
Just ask fashion icon Kelly Rowland.
“This beautifully sparked idea, that began on a napkin, to helping to place over 625 black businesses on retail shelves, creating the opportunity to shift over $14 Billion to Black Entrepreneurs and businesses! What a beautiful evening!!” Kelly wrote on Instagram after attending the event wearing Benchellal. “Thank you for what you are doing, thank you to your solid team, and your fierce dedication to this cause!”
Tracee Ellis Ross, June Ambrose, Nicole Ari Parker, and more arrive in ‘couture for the culture.’
Kelly was just one of many celebrities at the February 3 event. Notable attendees included Tracee Ellis Ross, June Ambrose, Queen Latifah, Claire Sulmers, Nicole Ari Parker, and Robin Thede. As expected, everyone understood the assignment and slayed the red carpet in “Black Tie, by Black Designers.”
We couldn’t get enough of the parade of ‘couture for the culture.’ One after one, each ‘fit displayed how beautifully crafted and original the Black aesthetic can be.
See our gallery of top looks below. (All designers are linked.)
To get involved with the Fifteen Percent Pledge, click here.
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