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How Neiman Marcus Group Is Spotlighting Virgil Abloh’s Legacy for Black History Month

This Black History Month, Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) is celebrating the legacy of Virgil Abloh, the game-changing designer who died in late November after a two year battle with cancer.

Abloh, a renowned designer who frequently collaborated with Nike and the Jordan brand, was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections since 2018. He also led his own streetwear brand Off-White, which was often sold at Neiman Marcus.

Recognizing the lasting impact of the designer, Neiman Marcus launched a partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund in support of the Virgil Abloh’s own “Post-Modern” Scholarship, which Abloh launched in 2020 with the Fashion Scholarship Fund to help promising Black students on their creative and educational journeys.

NMG is launching a point-of-sale fundraising campaign across its 37 stores for three months, with proceeds supporting Abloh’s scholarship fund during February. During March and April, the funds will support another new scholarship program from NMG and the Fashion Scholarship Fund meant to help diverse students studying “sustainable and ethical fashion.”

“Virgil Abloh was a trailblazer who always pushed the limits of the industry from design, technological innovation, inclusivity and beyond,” said Eric Severson, EVP and chief people and belonging officer at Neiman Marcus Group. “We feel that his vision embodies NMG’s goals for Diversity and Inclusion, and all of the Belonging work we are doing to make sure that every community is seen, heard, and supported at NMG.”

In addition to the scholarship work, 14 select Neiman Marcus stores will feature displays that highlight the work of Abloh and his vision for his scholarship program. One store in Atlanta will feature a walk through exhibit with other notable Black designers. Finally, in its North Park Dallas store, Neiman Marcus has instated a tribute to United States Congressional Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the first Black woman to win elected office from Dallas and a former Neiman Marcus associate.

In addition to its stores-focused initiatives, Neiman Marcus is focusing on Abloh’s legacy internally as well. The company will be hosting a panel for employees this month to celebrate Abloh’s legacy and the retailer’s overall commitment to Black voices in fashion.

According to NMG, diversity has grown by 44% in the company’s Executive Development Program. Diversity in hiring and recruiting remains a top priority for the Texas-based retailer, beyond Black History Month.

“Our workforce diversity efforts are part of our robust, multi-year Belonging Strategy, where we will continue to make moves and utilize partnerships and tools that help us attract, recruit, hire, and promote rising diverse talent across the industry,” Severson said. “Neiman Marcus Group is a place that leads with love, where everyone belongs, and we will continue this strategy as we work to network with and hire top diverse talent all over the United States.”

These commitments to diversity, Severson explained, are meant to last well beyond this month. For example, NMG CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck has signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, committing to improve diversity and inclusion across the organization.

As Black History Month kicks off, other brands and retailers have also announced new initiatives to highlight Black voices and promote diversity. Nordstrom recently launched a series of campaigns for Black History Month which highlight its diverse community of staff and consumers. The retailer is engaging with communities and highlighting Black-owned brands, Black food culture and stories among its Black employees. Saks has teamed up with designers LaQuan Smith and Dani Evans of Monrowe to create digital content that highlights Black designers.

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