VS&CO’S Black History Month Community Partners

As a brand, we are dedicated to building an inclusive atmosphere and we’re proud supporters of innovative, Black-owned businesses. From mental-health organizations to cotton farms, we see the importance of doing work across multiple spaces that align with our values. Read on to learn a bit more about who we’re partnering with this month and beyond. 

Meet Our Collaborators

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)

Founded by award-winning writer and healing justice worker Yolo Akili Robinson, BEAM is a national institution with a mission to remove the barriers that Black people often experience with health care.

PINK has been supporting the organization’s work since 2020 and has donated over $500,000 toward programming that provides healing, conversation, and connection for the Black community. Here are a few additional ways the brand and BEAM have worked together:

  • PINK was a sponsor of BEAM’s Black Healing Remixed for the past two years.
  • In addition to general donations, BEAM has been the beneficiary of the Chloe x Halle collection.
  • In 2023, we donated to Heart Space, allowing BEAM to offer previously virtual healing circles at in-person events for the first time. 

“This partnership with VS&Co has helped us grow our annual mental health conference’s reach, including ensuring critical elements, such as accessibility (ASL) options and more, are possible for attendees.” – Yolo Akili Robinson, founder of BEAM

Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR)

Founded by the trailblazing Brandice Daniels, HFR is the premier agency creating a bridge between brands and designers of color in the fashion industry through strategy, collaborations, and more.

Over the course of our partnership with this inspiring organization, we’ve been proud sponsors of their annual September Fashion Show, which highlights the work of brands and stylists that VS&Co admire. As we kick off 2024, we can’t wait to share all the exciting ways we are evolving this partnership.

“Our goal is to catalyze a transformative shift in the fashion landscape, ensuring that Black designers not only break through barriers but thrive in an industry that historically has been non-accessible to many.” – Brandice Daniels, founder of HFR

Bridgeforth Farms & Bridgeforth Cotton

Located in Tanner, Alabama, this organization is in its fifth generation of family ownership. Bridgeforth Farms started after the Civil War under the leadership of George Bridgeforth, a former slave who persevered to buy and farm land. Today, Bridgeforth and his family run the 10,000-acre business. As chairman of the National Black Growers Council, he advocates on behalf of Black farmers in the US and abroad through organizations like 4-H, the Youth Development Program of the USDA, and the Cooperative Extension System.

VS&Co is honored to embark on a first-of-its-kind initiative to purchase cotton directly from Bridgeforth. In addition, we’ve created a three-year scholarship program for diverse students from Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University that will allow us to continue our commitment to economic empowerment in diverse communities and help promote a new generation of students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture.  

In parallel, we’re partnering again to create an internship program spanning the next three years with the same universities. The program provides agriculture students the invaluable opportunity to acquire hands-on experience and education directly on the Bridgeforth Farm. These educational programs equal a $150,000 investment into diverse agriculture students who are the future of farming. 

“I knew I wanted to be a farmer from the age of 11 years-old and it’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day.” – Billy Bridgeforth, owner of Bridgeforth Farms

RAISEfashion

In the summer of 2020, business expert Felita Harris felt compelled to reflect more closely on the opportunity and responsibility of the workers in the fashion industry to cultivate a more diverse community. To promote and foster BIPOC-owned business and individuals, RAISEfashion was created.

The organization’s volunteer advisory network consists of 300+ industry leaders with years of experience across all areas of the market (including creative content, branding, merchandising, sales, and business development).

In 2023, VS&Co was a proud sponsor of their Fall Fashion Presentation and will continue the work in 2024 by matching experts within our organization with RAISEfashion emerging designers.

“I hope our partnership will contribute to create spaces that celebrate diversity, amplify underrepresented voices, and inspire positive change within our community and beyond.” – Felita Harris, founding board member, RAISEfashion

Heirs of Afrika

Founded by Koshie Mills (aka, Mama Koshie), this organization has a mission of dispelling the myth of a singular Black experience by utilizing authentic storytelling and inclusive conversations as a tool for reconciliation between Africa and its descendants across the world.

We’re honored to have been a sponsor of the International Women of Power award and supporter of Heirs of Afrika.

“Connecting our DNA is essential to our sense of identity, heritage, and global community.” – Koshie Mills, founder of Heirs of Afrika

ColorComm

Founded by Lauren Wesley Wilson, this organization is the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity and inclusion across the communication, marketing, advertising, and media industries. 

In the fall of 2023, members of the VS&Co executive team hosted a panel discussion for the ColorComm community about our company culture and the ways our business is changing for the better.

In 2024, Lydia Smith, Chief Diversity Officer at VS&Co, is serving as a mentor to five ColorComm members through their mentorship program.

“Breaking barriers for women in corporate America is the ethos to work that we do at ColorComm. We look to provide our members with […] skills and information to succeed […]. We want black women to enjoy their professional journeys.” – Lauren Wesley Wilson, founder of ColorComm

Fifteen Percent Pledge
LaToya Williams Belfort, Executive Director
Aurora James, Founder & Board Member

Led by executive director LaToya Williams Belfort, this organization functions as a call to action for major retailers and corporations to create sustainable and supportive spaces for Black-owned businesses to succeed. They work with companies to comprehensively re-evaluate their organizational structures, ways of thinking, funding, and resourcing to implement meaningful change and create greater equity for Black businesses.

In August, VS&Co hosted its inaugural Black Business Matchmaking event in Columbus, Ohio. In partnership with 15% Pledge, the event brought together community leaders, suppliers, local businesses, and Victoria’s Secret & PINK leaders to network, foster innovation, and drive economic growth for Black businesses. In November 2023, we focused our efforts on creatives and held the Chic Chemistry: The Art of Connection event at our 5th Ave. store.

With the help of 15% Pledge, we are excited and on track with progress toward our 15% diverse spend targets.

“Our work together is grounded in our shared vision to drive equity across retail, and ultimately build an ecosystem for Black businesses to grow and thrive; thus, driving the most robust, democratic, and inclusive economy for us all.” – LaToya Williams Belfort, executive director of Fifteen Percent Pledge 

How Else We’re Celebrating Black History Month

We’re proud to partner with the Columbus Fashion Alliance. Discover this collective of creators that are passionate about the fashion industry in Columbus. Its goal is to support the growth of creatives and fashion-based businesses through multiple facets.