The days of wearing black dress shirts and jeans in black stores are over, thanks to new rules that say any black garment sold in a chain store can be worn in a black store, even if it’s not a shirt or a suit.
The rule was put in place by the American Apparel Association and comes as the fashion industry moves away from the traditional white and black look and instead embraces black.
The rules were designed to promote “black inclusivity” and make it more affordable for black families to shop at retailers that carry items that make them feel like they are part of a community.
“It’s not only about buying black-themed merchandise, it’s about the quality and value of the merchandise that you buy,” said Michael Brown, the CEO of the American Black Chamber of Commerce.
“The quality of the products you buy matters more than the color of your shirt or the color the pants you wear.
Black clothing can’t be cheap.”
Black-owned stores also must provide at least 60 percent of the items sold by a black family to be owned by black employees.
Black stores can’t sell clothing that is too expensive for families to afford, for example.
The rule also says that stores selling items like designer purses, shoes and accessories that are not in black can still be black-and-white.
Black women make up about a quarter of the U.S. population but make up less than 4 percent of American clothing purchases.
The black population is declining, and some African-American businesses have struggled in recent years with the economic downturn.
In January, Black Women for Equality filed a class-action lawsuit against Gap, saying that the chain failed to provide equal pay and other benefits to employees in the black community, which has seen the number of women leaving the workforce plunge.
The rules have not stopped Black businesses from opening, though.
Black women have been growing in the apparel business for decades.
Since 1995, the number has grown from 5.5 percent of U.P. households to nearly 19 percent, according to the Uptown Brands Association.
The organization says that Black-owned businesses are growing at a faster pace than white-owned ones, especially in the retail and wholesale sectors.
“We see a lot of opportunity for our black women and their families,” said Nicole Johnson, the executive director of the Black Women’s Business Coalition, a national organization.
“It’s been really encouraging to see black women continue to move into retail and retail jobs.”