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Activists are calling out brands for “woke-washing.”

Nov 09 2021

Activists are calling out brands for “woke-washing.” Fashion brands have previously been called out for “greenwashing” (the act of “irresponsibly using environmentalism as marketing.”) Now, the Slow Factory Foundation is raising awareness around the term “woke-washing,” when companies use social movements to increase sales without addressing how their businesses have been complicit, which gained momentum last year after being the nonprofit group’s focus for their open education program. According to executive director Céline Semaan and writer and lecturer Aja Barber, one major example of woke-washing is when brands co-opted the Black Lives Matter movement last year to share black squares on social media. Barber is encouraging consumers to question “whether a company is engaging in woke-washing versus substantive change, including inquiring about the ethnicity breakdown of the organization and social advocacy for garment workers,” and she’s urging companies to use their power to create “actual equitable and sustainable movements” beyond woke-washing that include not only hiring BIPOC, but listening to their ideas and creating safe spaces where they can give feedback and criticism for things that might’ve not been handled well in the past. YPulse has warned brands about being involved in the movement, including getting specific about what actions they’re taking and paying attention to their track record. (Teen Vogue)