It’s been incredible to see the support rally around the Black Lives Matter movement, as well the near global call to action to support Black owned businesses. To help his peers make the most of the movement, renowned Canadian shoe designer George Sully is launching a brand new platform to support Black creators in the fashion industry: Black Designers of Canada (BDoC), the first-ever interactive index of Canadian black designers.
It should come as no surprise that due to systemic racism, implicit and often explicit bias in the fashion industry and general societal inequality, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) designers are often overlooked and underrepresented compared to their white peers. Having experienced this type of discrimination himself, George Sully has decided to create a platform where black designers in Canada can be featured, celebrated and supported, and so the idea for the BDoC was born.
George Sully is a well-known name in the Canadian fashion world. You may know him as the co-founder of Sully Wong, House of Hayla, private label work, international and local collaborations, or as of late, maker of the Starfleet Boot for CBS’s flagship juggernaut STAR TREK Discovery. He is also a mentor to the students of Central Toronto Academy and their 6ixess program, and has been inducted into the Bata Shoe Museum twice. He is a leading force in an ever-changing business landscape. He is also a black man. Despite his many successes, George has also experienced more than his share of the prejudices entrenched in the fashion community. With the power and intensity racial equality and justice movement surging around us, George is doing his part to bring a piece of that justice to the fashion world.
Last week, George put out a call-to-action on his social platforms, asking people to submit their favorite black designers in all areas of the industry. The goal of BDoC is to make it next to impossible for the powers that be in Canadian fashion to continue make excuses rooted in ignorance to justify exclusion.
“I wanted to create a platform where we can be found,” said George, “in the likely case you didn’t know we ever existed in the first place”.
George and his team are currently accepting submissions from the public to highlight Canadian black designers of all styles and levels. Once they’ve compiled their list they will be launching it for public use. You can submit yourself or your favorite black designers at blackdesignersofcanada.com or through the official Instagram page @blackdesignersofcanada immediately. Stay tuned for the official list release date!