Today Old Navy announces the expansion of its Project WE series - a collection of graphic tees designed by diverse artists to imagine a more inclusive world through art - in partnership with the Fifteen Percent Pledge. The Project WE x Fifteen Percent Pledge collection marks the first product collaboration for the Pledge, supporting diverse artists as they break into the retail industry on a national level. In celebration of the initiative, Old Navy is donating $500,000 to the non-profit to support the rise of Black creative entrepreneurs.
“I know firsthand how artists and designers from marginalized groups have been historically excluded from opportunities to scale their businesses,” said Aurora James, Founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge. “This project gives artists a chance to increase their visibility as business owners and social impact leaders. The partnership will also support the Pledge’s efforts to expand access and opportunity for Black creatives, and take us another step closer to building a more equitable retail industry.”
Through the Project WE x Fifteen Percent Pledge collection, Old Navy will provide a platform for artists to grow their businesses and expand their audience, a focus for the Pledge’s Business Equity Community.
“Old Navy is proud to amplify and celebrate diverse voices through our Project WE initiative in support of creating a better future for future generations,” said Sarah Holme, Executive Vice President of Design and Visual Merchandising at Old Navy. “Through our collaboration with the Fifteen Percent Pledge team, we are thrilled to shine a light on the next generation of talented Black creators.”
Originally launched in January 2021, 1 Project WE creates space for vibrant, diverse artists to gain visibility and equitable access. With the expansion of the series, Old Navy and the Fifteen Percent Pledge will curate a selection of artists from historically marginalized groups to share their visions and voices with graphic tee releases through 2023.
The new Project WE series kicks off with two incredible talents: Brazilian artist and illustrator Camila Rosa and Brooklyn-based artist Shanée Benjamin.
Following in the footsteps of Project WE’s inaugural Latinx designers, Camila Rosa’s tee honors Latinx Heritage Month with a depiction of two strong women interwoven with flame and flower symbols, a celebration of her community’s strength, family and heritage.
“It’s important that we recognize that Latinx people exist and need to be respected,” said Rosa. “The strength with which we fight for what we believe is one of our greatest powers.”
Shanée Benjamin’s design features a diverse array of faces, each with nods to Pride culture, in honor of LGBTQ History Month. Her work pays homage to queer history and those who paved the way for her community.
“I wanted to give my characters life and give voice to different ethnicities, communities, and people,” said Benjamin. “To really show the diversity and beauty in our community.”
Coming in October, Old Navy will add Toronto-based artist Benny Bing to the new Project WE series. His tee will feature a portrait design that celebrates Black womanhood and the beauty and resilience of Black culture. Bing saw the lack of Black female subjects in contemporary art, and dedicated his craft to increase their representation. The subject of his design is inspired by meaningful features of four different Black women close to the artist.
“My work is about representation, equity and inclusion,” said Bing. “It’s important that we celebrate Blackness and the beauty of our culture and who we are.”
The first two editions of the expanded Project WE collection are available at OldNavy.com/projectwe and in stores now, with styles available for the whole family. Benny Bing’s Project WE graphic tee will be available in-store and online in late October.
In honor of the Project WE x Fifteen Percent Pledge collaboration, Old Navy is donating $500,000 to the Pledge through its Imagine Mission Fund 2 to support the rise of Black creative entrepreneurs.
Black creatives lack representation in the art world. Over 85 percent of the works in all major U.S. museums belong to white artists, 3 and work by African American artists only makeup 1.2 percent of the global auction market over the past 10 years. 4 The Project WE x Fifteen Percent Pledge partnership champions inclusivity and racial equity for artists, who have historically been excluded from equitable economic opportunities. Donation funds will go towards programming to support Black business owners and creative entrepreneurs as they break through barriers to increase their brand visibility and revenue.
Old Navy will continue to announce upcoming Project WE x Fifteen Percent Pledge artist collaborations as part of its mission to create for all, with all, and amplify diverse voices.
Old Navy is a global apparel and accessories brand that makes current American essentials accessible to every family. Originated in 1994, the brand celebrates the democracy of style through on-trend, playfully optimistic, affordable and high-quality products. A division of San Francisco-based Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Old Navy brings a fun, energizing shopping environment to its customers in more than 1,200 stores around the world. For more information, please visit www.oldnavy.com.
The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a racial equity and economic justice non-profit advocacy organization urging major retailers and corporations to commit 15% of their purchasing power to Black-owned businesses. The Pledge also offers large corporations accountability support and thought partnership to advance equal opportunity for Black-owned businesses and Black people in the workforce.
Launched in 2020 by Aurora James, the initiative was born from seeing multiple acts of social injustice and police brutality in the United States, with a lack of accountability for the systemic issues at play. Businesses including Macy’s Inc., Gap Inc., Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm, Vogue Magazine and more have all committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge. For more information, visit www.15percentpledge.org