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2022 Inaugural Fifteen Percent Pledge Benefit Gala - Inside

Aurora James speaks onstage at the 2022 Inaugural Fifteen Percent Pledge Benefit Gala earlier this spring Source: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty

Fashion is often used as a means for artistic expression, and the Fifteen Percent Pledge is advancing its efforts to ensure the voices and creativity of diverse artists are amplified. The nonprofit has teamed up with Old Navy to support creatives in bringing their artistry into the retail industry nationally.  

The partnership is part of Old Navy’s Project WE initiative. Launched in 2021, the project was cultivated to “imagine a more inclusive world” through art and fashion by giving underrepresented artistic innovators a space to share their work. The Fifteen Percent Pledge—which was founded by fashion designer Aurora James in 2020 to urge retailers to dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses—and Old Navy will work with artists to develop graphic tees that visually capture their perspectives on the current state of society and their hopes for the world.   

Amongst the creatives that will be included in this collection are Brooklyn artist Shanée Benjamin, Brazilian illustrator Camila Rosa, and Toronto creative Benny Bing. Old Navy has also pledged to donate $500,000 to the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Imagine Mission Fund to support Black innovators.  

The partnership comes as there remains a need for more diverse representation on the shelves at major retailers. 

James says the partnership with Old Navy will be instrumental in spreading awareness about the powerful work being produced by visionaries who are often marginalized.

“I know firsthand how artists and designers from marginalized groups have been historically excluded from opportunities to scale their businesses,” she shared in a statement. “This project gives artists a chance to increase their visibility as business owners and social impact leaders. The partnership will also support the Pledge’s efforts to expand access and opportunity for Black creatives and take us another step closer to building a more equitable retail industry.”   


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