The pandemic and the recent social injustice issues have amplified the fact that for most retailers and brands, we as an industry rarely listen.
In the past, this has resulted in a steady stream of tone deaf or offensive styles, whether it was a Columbine sweatshirt with bullet holes, or a blackface turtleneck, or cultural misappropriation of Native American images. Call it creative license. Call it ignorance. The truth is that retail has been contributing to many of the growing problems in our country for decades.
In many respects, COVID-19 has proven to be more of an accelerant than a disruptor. It has brought into focus the fact that in order to adapt and succeed in the new retail market, retailers and brands must first accept and acknowledge what is happening and overcome a fundamental lack of customer understanding. We, as leaders in this industry, control our own destiny. And it is time to lead.