Black Artists Create Designs Giving Back to Black Girls Code for Black History Month – Collaboration with Lifestyle Brand Erin Condren

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( ENSPIRE Feature ) Lifestyle Brand Erin Condren Launched Black History Month Collection, First in Their New Heritage and Awareness Months Series

ENSPIRE Contributor: Michelle Bolden

Lifestyle organization brand Erin Condren premiered their Black History Month Collection, the first installment of their new Heritage and Awareness Months series. Launched on Jan. 14th and continued to the end of February 2021, this collection featured beautiful and inspiring designs created by Black artists.

The company designates 35% of proceeds generated during this time-frame to be donated to Black Girls Code (BGC), a non-profit organization on a mission to give underprivileged girls a chance to become tomorrow’s masters of tech. The brand states, “besides social justice, we’re committed to supporting education. So, the mission of Black Girls Code aligns perfectly with our core values.”

Artwork featured in the Black History Month collection includes “Abundance of Joy” by Allison Ford, “Amazing” by Charity Ekpo, “Lift Your Voice” by Jessica Shannon, and “Birds of Paradise” by DM Smith. The company explains that the process of selecting the artists to be featured in the collection was not easy, “You may be surprised at just how many amazing and diverse artists there are out there who are not getting the exposure their talent deserves. Our goal is to find them and amplify as many of their voices as we can.”

The Heritage and Awareness Month series serves as an expansion to the brand’s Black Artist Collaboration and Social Justice Collection, developed in 2020 to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. The company’s goal was to expand on that partnership to include more diverse artists across the various cultural heritage and awareness months.

EC: Planning this series was a labor of love. It’s a true honor to work with such talented artists, and we are very grateful to have the opportunity to display their artwork on our products as well as introduce them to our customers. Launch day was incredibly inspirational as their beautiful creations were embraced and celebrated by the EC community.

Many brands shy away from hot topics for fear of being seen as “too political” and thus limiting their audience. Condren speaks about her brand’s outward support of equality and racial justice.

EC: This past year was truly a time for individuals and brands to stand up for what we believe in. Our team itself is exceptionally diverse, and inclusive representation is important to us. We felt passionate about not only standing up for what we believe in, but also, and more importantly, putting positive action behind those beliefs. That action included being transparent about how we could improve diversity, equity, and inclusion internally and externally, and then doing something about it. 

This past year, we developed our Diversity & Inclusion Council (DE&I), hired a social justice educator to facilitate a series of online workshops accessible to our entire team, partnered with BIPOC artists in support of their work and multiple social justice charities, launched Spanish-language products, donated funds and product to education organizations and to communities impacted by racial injustice, and more. And we’re just getting started. This year, we’re expanding our DE&I initiatives and setting them up for long-term success.

Featured artist, Allison Ford explains her excitement for the collection and what she hopes to see moving forward.

AF: I think it is important to see a range and breadth of artists and styles of art. We all bring our unique perspectives and backgrounds to the table. What is important to me is representing myself, my family, my heritage, and the global community through my art.  All of those aspects translate onto the canvas by virtue of approaching the canvas with your entire being. What I hope people see from this collection is the diversity of artistic values and approaches within this grouping of Black artists and in viewing abstract art in general, realizing that there is a story to tell there as well.

When viewing the collection, it is clear that the theme is meant to be uplifting and inspiring to viewers. The brand and Ford speak about the importance of uplifting the community as a brand, especially, in light of everything going on in the world. 

AF: I am a firm believer in the power of art to lift spirits, inspire, and motivate.  One of the reasons why I am so passionate about art is because painting does that for me and that good, positive energy, always transfers to others. The best scenario is when a collector is literally drawn to a piece or it’s been made custom-made for them and for their story. That’s when the good energy is at its highest. I am constantly inspired to keep painting because of the feedback I receive when people view my work and engage with my art. If people feel joyful and upbeat, then I’ve done my job.

EC: “Create, motivate, inspire” is our brand’s call-to-action. Inspiration fused with function is our formula for creating products designed to help others get organized, reduce stress, and reach their goals, leading to more meaningful, fulfilling lives through organization. So, in times like these, uplifting the community, sharing organization inspiration, giving back, and supporting one another are all more relevant than ever. We believe that our products can truly be uplifting, from planning goals for the year to scheduling virtual and in-person lesson plans, organizing a beautiful at-home workspace, even journaling about your day to relieve stress. While we can’t fix everything, we can play our part in contributing positivity and creating tools that can empower others to achieve their goals and become a positive force for change.

Find more about the collection and featured artists here.

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