Swedish fashion giant, H&M has appointed Nigerian, Ezinne Kwubiri as its Head of Inclusion and Diversity for North America and we’re so stoked!
H&M is one of the biggest names in retail fashion, owning about 4300 stores, and employing about 120,000 people in 70 different markets. The brand came under intense fire earlier in the year for an ad that carried some racially sensitive undertones – where a black American child modelled a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
The brand also faced criticism at different times over issues like cultural appropriation and the need to feature racially diverse models in their campaigns. To prevent past mistakes from recurring, the office of Inclusion and Diversity was created, and Ezinne Kwubiri could not have been a more appropriate fit.
Before the appointment, she worked as a Production Auditor at MTV Networks, and more recently as the Director of Global Business Services – Change Management at Viacom, where she led and managed strategies for people development. Even though she is coming from a non-fashion background, Ezinne is bringing that unique Nigerian energy to the table.
In an interview with Business of Fashion, she said:
“I want to challenge the mindset across the board, from the way we do our promotions, to our hiring process, to how we interact with our employees and customers, as well as their communities— who all deserve our support and celebration.”
With focused research from H&M’s consumer base, she will be making recommendations that will lead to positive change for the company. She stated that the company will be focusing on advocating and challenging the status quo as it regards several communities that their targeted demographic group falls into.
“We are looking specifically at race, gender, age and sexual orientation, as well as disability and many other areas. For the US, we are seeking to do three things, to educate and raise awareness, to become better advocates for the communities we are a part of, and finally to challenge the status quo and accepted mindset about how we achieve things.“
Her job will cut across a broad spectrum, as she will be ensuring that internal and external communications by the company reflect its stance on diversity and inclusivity.
We congratulate yet another Nigerian woman winning on the global scene! May many more of us step up to the plate.
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