On May 25, 2020 George Floyd took his last breath before the eyes of millions of people as a direct result of police brutality. His death sent shockwaves through the Black community and corroded the walls of countless brands, from which systemic racism was still alive and well.

Some brands, like Nike, have led the charge with strong stances, while others have been sent reeling––forced to reflect on their own internal systems, with ex-employees, partners and current associates of color now emboldened to speak out about the wrongs they have witnessed.

One brand that will forever be marked by this moment in history is adidas. A brand that has been one of my personal favorites and inspired much of who I have become, is on the wrong side of history. That fact has left me confused, conflicted and in a state of self evaluation on if I am truly supporting the right brands. While adidas is not the only brand to have failed in this area of diversity and inclusivity, the systemic racism behind brands like them and in the fashion space, serve as a backdrop to the simple question:

Has the sneaker industry as a whole done enough for the very community from which they constantly draw inspiration?

While nowhere near an exhaustive look at both brands, we can see some recent moves that may give us an indication on how the sneaker industry's two titans have, and are, addressing these issues.

To fully understand the present we have to go back to review how brands like adidas and Nike have become the cultural pillars that they are today.

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Grailed strives to let its community speak. The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Grailed or Dry Clean Only.

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