Retailers From Nike to Glossier Respond to Ongoing Protests With Statements and Donations

Some retailers are showing their support.
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· 3 min read

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Protesters gathered from coast to coast this weekend to demand justice for the black Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, who were killed by police in recent weeks. Some retailers are responding with public antiracism statements.

Immediate reactions

Nike released a campaign Friday telling customers “Don’t Do It,” a play on its slogan. A sample of its message: “Don't pretend there's not a problem in America. Don't turn your back on racism.” Adidas, Nike’s rival in athletic apparel, reshared the ad on Twitter.

Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in an open letter Friday that the Minneapolis-based retailer hopes to “face pain with purpose.”

  • After some protests resulted in looting in the Twin Cities area, Cornell said the company will deliver essential supplies to local families and continue paying displaced store workers.
  • Target also announced plans Sunday to close or reduce hours at about 200 stores while protests continue.

DTC brands like Outdoor Voices and Everlane released supportive statements on social media throughout the weekend. A handful backed their words with action.

  • Allbirds made “rapid response contributions” to the Black Lives Matter foundation and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
  • Glossier pledged $500,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice. It committed another $500,000 to grants for black-owned beauty businesses.

Still silent? Brands like Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, and Revolve—despite calls from prominent influencers including Jackie Aina and Alissa Ashley for their response, BuzzFeed reports. These fashion companies often align themselves with black culture, Aina said, yet remain silent on issues affecting their black customers.

This conversation isn’t over

In comments across social media, customers welcomed brands’ statements and pledges. Many others noted that retailers could do far more to stand with black customers and employees.

One initiative: Aurora James, the founder and creative director of accessories brand Brother Vellies, asked retailers including Target, Sephora, Net-a-Porter, and Saks Fifth Avenue to commit to buying 15% of their products from black-owned businesses.

“So many of your businesses are built on Black spending power. So many of your stores are set up in Black communities,” James wrote on Instagram. “This is the least you can do for us.”

It’s worth noting that retailers large and small are notorious for appropriating black culture and hiring mostly white teams. Reinvesting in black-owned businesses is a small step to remedy the industry’s inclusivity gap and show support for an underrepresented community.

The big takeaway: Brand statements can ring hollow without dedicated efforts to diversify their workforces, support black-owned businesses, or donate to antiracist efforts. We’ll continue to monitor which retailers speak up—and what courses of action they take.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Our free retail newsletter delivers insights to keep retail leaders and decision-makers up to date.