Hi all, Chlo here! This is my statement about what Hoodlum Fang – and I as an individual are doing to support the black lives matter movement, and what I am doing to educate myself and what I'm implementing to make Hoodlum Fang better in the future.
So, a little about Hoodlum Fang and myself for those who may not know. Hoodlum Fang is a small company, it is run and owned solely by myself, Chlo. I am a white non binary individual, but I present more as femme so I do have quite a lot of privilege in that respect.
My main goal for Hoodlum Fang has always been to be as inclusive as possible and that is reflected in our range of sizes and styles of clothing. One of the issues I know what we fall down on as a brand is our diversity platform. This is purely down to my own white privilege and not addressing matters of representation. I naively always just assumed that if people liked our products they would purchase them, but through discovering my true non-binary identity in the last few months and speaking to folx from the black community these last few weeks, I have discovered that representation is everything. I pride myself and as a company on being all inclusive, and this ethos stems from my own personal ethos, however I want to acknowledge that I have made errors and I am now working on how Hoodlum Fang can have better representation to minority groups, especially those in the black community. A big thank you to those in the pole dance industry and the Filthy Friday community who have done the emotional labour to help me with this as this was very much a personal issue I needed to talk through.
I want to do better for everyone – particularly the marginalised and underrepresented communities and groups, including black people and other minorities, people living with disabilities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and plus size athletes. I want to educate myself. I am willing to educate myself. I'm currently educating myself, and I want to do better.
I am currently actively seeking out and reading articles and books, watching documentaries and series geared towards the discussion of race, speaking with friends and customers about their personal experiences, sharing resources on the Hoodlum Fang instagram page, as well as my own personal instagram account. I'm also making a bigger conscious effort to call out and challenge racism when I see it, and I have signed every petition I've found, I've donated personally to a couple of organisations and have held a giveaway on the Hoodlum Fang page encouraging others to donate to these organisations. I feel this is the bare minimum for me to be doing, and I am working to do better for myself personally, and also for Hoodlum Fang.
With regards to employment within Hoodlum Fang, I don't tend to put out job postings as the business isn’t quite at that stage yet, and the people who I work with on projects such as photo shoots are mutual friends, who are mostly white due to growing up together in a similar area that was very white middle class. This is something I am addressing and branching out with, below is my plan on how to work better on representation as a brand.
So, what am I planning to do to represent diversity within the pole and fitness industry as a brand, Hoodlum Fang?
Photo Shoots: Hoodlum Fang has one main model for the website stock images and she is a thin white woman. The way that the business is run with regards to new prints and products works best with how I am currently producing our stock website images. This is down to the fact that Hoodlum Fang has a wide variety of styles and prints and to keep down on creating waste products I create the visuals to showcase the prints. I don’t do many stylised photo shoots and the last photo shoot I undertook as a brand was over 2 years ago now as it’s not something that I have prioritised in the past. However, this is due to change once the current pandemic situation in the UK is over. I had started planning a larger scale photo shoot last year with a diverse range of models from underrepresented groups. This includes plus size models (something we strive for as a brand is to cater for plus size folx) and POC. This group of models can always grow, so I am actively looking for black and POC models who would want to get on board with this. I am also actively seeking out new photographers to work with on smaller projects.
Brand Ambassador Programme: Hoodlum Fang currently has a small family of brand ambassadors who are all white cis identifying women. Our brand ambassadors have very much been friends of myself who have approached me about becoming a brand ambassador. This is something that is in the very process of changing while we speak with new and exciting people who want to get involved with the Hoodlum Fang brand. Our family will be growing with folx from the LGBTQIA community, plus size dancers and of course, the black community.
Artist Collaborations: Something I have done with Hoodlum Fang in the past is artist collaborations. This is when I have approached or have been approached by an artist, illustrator or tattoo artist (as our collections are heavily influenced by tattoo art) and together we turn their drawings and illustrations into wearable repeating prints for the Hoodlum Fang range. This is something I want to do a lot more of, especially with illustrators and tattoo artists from underrepresented groups. I am currently seeking out illustrators etc I would love to work with. The goal is to work with at least one illustrator/tattoo artist who is from the black community and donate some of the proceeds from my portion of the profits to a black community organisation. This is something that will be a project that will hopefully create representation and assistance to an organisation for a longer more sustainable period, rather than just because it’s trending now.
With all our goals and ideas above, we are actively seeking new BIPOC and people from minority groups to work with. If you know someone who may be interested, or you yourself are interested and want to work with us. Get in touch as I’d love to hear from you. Similarly if you have other ideas of how I can do better for my brand, and myself as an individual. I have set up a form where you can submit your interest. This is so it is all in one place so I don’t lose emails or miss out on anyone. Please apply HERE!
So I hope that gives you a bit of an idea of what I am doing for Hoodlum Fang for the future. This is not perfect, because I don't think anything can be as we are always learning, but as a lot of people have been sharing, it's better to do something than to do nothing. If you have any suggestions on how I, or Hoodlum Fang can do better, please do pop me a message or an email. I'm listening, I'm learning, and I want to do better.