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Black-Owned Business Highlight: Greta Constantine

We are using our platform to spotlight black-owned businesses and raise the voices of powerful individuals in our community and beyond. Read more about Kirk Pickersgill, founder of Greta Constantine and his stance on the #BLM movement.

Based in Canada and founded in 2006, Greta Constantine is a women’s ready-to-wear brand. Designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong spend their days conceptualizing, exploring and challenging the fashion of today for the women of tomorrow. We spoke with Kirk for an inside scoop on the brand’s story and its current view of the #BLM movement. Learn more, below.

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Kirk Pickersgill of Greta Constantine

Tell us about your story. How did you start?

After several years working in Milan with DSquared2 and Neil Barrett, I founded Greta Constantine with my design partner in 2006. From the start, the brand was recognized for its understated elegance and attention to cut, fabric and fit. Today, the collection is available in over 15 countries globally and we've had the pleasure of dressing women that inspire us -- from Angela Bassett to Catherine O'Hara, Ava DuVernay to Katy Perry.

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How has your business been affected by COVID-19? As the states start to reopen, how will you react?

COVID-19 has afforded us the ability to pause and rethink how we do what we do. Our industry was moving very quickly and has been for some time. A new season's samples would be due even before the orders for the previous season had been shipped, and in an effort to keep pace, there was no time to reflect on whether the current system was beneficial to our business, let alone how to fix it. While there remain more questions than answers, it's been valuable to have the chance to consider how to operate in the industry in a way that makes sense for us and not simply because it's what everyone else is doing.

As black voices are being heard across the globe, how do you see the fashion industry moving forward in support?

There is still so much to be done. We need to begin by improving representation in boardrooms, on store shelves, in magazines, on runways. It's our difference that make the difference. I hope more businesses, both big and small, realize that diversity isn't a public relations strategy, but an operational one. With different voices together tackling problems, we arrive at better solutions. For too long have we seen decisions made by rooms of individuals that look no different than one another, think no different than one another, speak no different than one another. We must expect better. It also can’t be overstated that fashion must recognize the difference between appropriation and appreciation as new collections and campaigns are developed.

What have you learned recently? Is there anything you’d like to change in the way you do business?

We need to listen to our clients better and open more dialogues. We operate in a world of "want," not of "need." And so, by working more closely with our retail partners, we can further engage the women we serve.

TAGS: COTERIE
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