KITCHENER, ON – On June 8th, Inspirations Dancewear was called out on social media for offering products with outdated, racist colour names.
Amber Riedel, the owner of Inspirations:
“I immediately felt shame about leaning so heavily on the excuse that I use the colour names chosen by our suppliers, as if there was nothing more we could do.”
She contacted the top dancewear manufacturers in the world with four requests that could improve the experience for dancers of colour, including calling for the renaming of skin tones to non-white-normative colour names. For example, changing “Nude” to “Beige”.
So Danca, Bloch and Ainsliewear responded with timelines for changes.
Capezio’s top executives scheduled two calls with Amber to discuss her requests, implement all of them as soon as possible, and to identify the problematic colour names across their entire product catalogs.
“Systemic racism is real. Even in something as seemingly unimportant as dance underwear. It is subtle and nuanced, and it may seem as inconsequential to those unaffected by it as it is blatant and offensive to those who have to live with it. And that’s just not good enough. We can do better for all our dancers.”
To learn more, read Amber’s blog post about inclusive dancewear, including the letter she sent to the dance manufacturers:
A few days later, Michael Terlizzi, the President of Capezio, went on ABC News to announce more products that were the result of a change.org petition for more skin colour product options, and the renaming of existing colours was also discussed:
About Inspirations Dancewear: Inspirations has been outfitting Canadian dancers since 1997, and has grown to become the largest dance retailer in Canada, with a 13,000 sq ft location in Kitchener, Ontario. They’ve grown from being a local dance shop to being the first choice for dance studios and their dancers across Canada. https://www.inspirationsdancewear.com