As a BIPOC designer, my multicultural roots — Mexican, Native American and Filipina — are an integral part of my love of diversity in design. I embrace them all as part of what makes me unique and creatively equipped to design any space. I love color and design influences from my travels across the globe and believe that diversity adds interest and excitement to our industry. Last year, I became one of the founding members of the Diversity Advocacy Alliance (DAA).
The mission of the DAA is to “advance, improve and support diversity by cultivating a welcoming environment and expanding the representation of the BIPOC community within the home furnishings industry and its leadership. In partnership with the High Point Market Authority, we intend to amplify these voices, implement equitable practices and policies, and demonstrate authentic representation within our community.”
We had an incredible turnout last fall at the kickoff event held at the High Point Market. It is important for us to engage the design community so that we can be sure that our mission is aligned with the industry we are serving. We had an incredible turnout and encouraged attendees to fill out a survey. We reviewed the survey data which helped us to determine next steps. Change Often, a social innovation firm, and the High Point Market Authority have both been incredible at facilitating all of this.
Since the October market, we have developed several initiatives that we’re working on for 2023. These include Industry Education & Engagement, Mentorship/Students & Internships, and Diversity in Awards & Recognition. Each of these focus areas has a subcommittee. I’m excited to be serving on the Awards & Recognition team.
What I can share is that our eyes are focused on the future. We’re looking to recognize showrooms that are a safe space and welcoming to BIPOC designers; vendors that are looking to collaborate with BIPOC designers to create new product offerings; and individuals that are thought leaders and/or mentoring BIPOC designers. In addition to these initiatives, we are growing DAA and are actively in recruitment mode.
Some might ask, why does diversity matter? It matters because ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. It matters because we should all feel safe and seen. It matters because as a collective, we have buying power. It matters because it elevates everyone’s businesses, and when that happens, we all win.
Interior designer Rachel Moriarty of RM Interiors, is one of the founders of the Diversity Advocacy Alliance. This opinion piece first appeared in the February issue of Home Accents Today.
Have an opinion you want to share? Please contact Allison Zisko at [email protected]