Tapestry Inc. kicked off New York Fashion Week on Thursday with a major motion promoting diversity and inclusion. The owner of Kate Spade, Coach and Stuart Weitzman, along with more than 50 others fashion brands, officially signed the Open to All pledge: a nationwide public engagement campaign to build awareness and understanding about the importance of protecting people from discrimination.
Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc. and Old Navy, the Open to All founding signatories, joined Tapestry at its headquarters in New York to sign the pledge with Ascena Retail Group, Ban.do, Capri Holdings, Diane von Furstenberg, Fossil Group, H&M Group, Hudson’s Bay Company, Incipio, Inditex, Keds, Kering, Lifeguard Press, Lenox, Movado Group, PVH Corp., Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Richemont North America, Steve Madden, Tiffany & Co. and The Collected Group.
These businesses pledge to maintain a safe environment for people — including employees, visitors, customers, vendors and clients regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion or disability.
Tapestry’s new CEO, Jide Zeitlin, who was appointed on Wednesday, said onstage, “Even though it’s literally my second day. I’ve been with Tapestry for over 20 years. One of the things that’s always been in the DNA of this place is a strong focus on values and the belief in the power of inclusivity. It’s clearly the right thing particularly in the environment we live in today, and it’s something that is worth not only privately celebrating but publicly celebrating.”
In an interview with FN, Zeitlin spoke on the priority of diversity. He said, “Diversity, is overall, core to how we define and think of ourselves at Tapestry. Inclusion is critical. The best way to do that is to have a diverse range of perspectives and people around the table. If we’re going to succeed and deliver against our strategy, we’re going to do that much more successfully with a diverse team that is inclusive in so many ways. I get that and believe in that fundamentally. I don’t think it’s distinct from the rest of our strategy. We won’t succeed as effectively, without a real appreciation and incorporation of diversity and inclusivity across our organization.”
The longtime board member and chairman is assuming the role of CEO as its chief executive of five years, Victor Luis, exits the post.
After what has been a challenging stretch for Tapestry — which has shouldered challenges as it aims to reposition Kate Spade amid a three-year turnaround plan — investors appeared to cheer the news of newly appointed leader Zeitlin, who is also now one of just six African-American S&P 500 CEOs. (Tapestry’s stock ended the trading day Wednesday up more than 5% to $21.49.)
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