Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue
The only Black female editor-in-chief in the United States and a 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Teen Vogue’s Lindsay Peoples Wagner shares an invaluable view of women’s empowerment, marketing to GenZ, elevating your brand in the era of Black Lives Matter, hiring for diversity, and running a multi-million dollar brand with an editorial mission to view everything through the lens of inclusivity. Read More >
On Fashion and Body Positivity
Fighting for Inclusivity in the Fashion & Beauty Industry | GMA
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Adults yearn to get back to normal. Young people, on the other hand, see issues that generations before them have failed to change. In this time of crisis and social upheaval, they also see an opportunity to start over and collectively build something new and better, whether it be about Black Lives Matter, climate change, #MeToo or human rights. According to Lindsay Peoples Wagner, it has to be younger people who drive lasting change because they are the ones most affected. “You see that with Greta [Thunberg], you see that with Malala [Yousafzai] and so many of those that have appeared on Teen Vogue’s covers,” says Peoples Wagner. “Young people—especially young people of color— are starting a revolution and saying that things aren’t good enough. We’re refusing to accept what older people are willing to give us because it’s unacceptable.” In this inspiring speech celebrating the power of young people to create real and lasting change, Peoples Wagner rouses audiences to action and provides powerful insights for adults and educators. “This is the only way change is going to happen,” she says. “We just have to keep doing it.”
Black Lives Matter and other social movements have totally raised the bar for brands. Consumers, especially young consumers, now embrace or reject brands based on how they align with their own values and social conscience. They’re calling companies to task, demanding action, and holding them accountable. “You just can’t hop on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon,” says Lindsay Peoples Wagner. “A corporate statement and an MLK quote aren’t going to cut it anymore. People want real, systemic changes that promote inclusivity.” In this eye-opening presentation, Peoples Wagner, who has shaped the Teen Vogue brand to be a model for inclusivity, social values and community, shares her view of the new societal landscape. You’ll learn what brands must do (and not do) to authentically reflect and connect with customers, employees, stakeholders and their communities.
In the age of Black Lives Matter, customers, employees and other stakeholders are demanding more than just words. They’re demanding real action and accountability on diversity and inclusion. In response, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, an outspoken voice in a predominantly white industry, co-founded the Black in Fashion Council. The council has enlisted the support of the Human Rights Campaign to provide benchmarking around corporate policies and practices that are pertinent to the inclusivity of Black employees and establish an Equality Index Score. “You have to be willing to hire different kinds of people who will challenge you,” she says, “And that could mean totally revamping your hiring practices.” In her thought-provoking talks, Peoples Wagner walks audiences through the components of this index and flags practices such as referral hiring, only hiring within your industry, only hiring people of color that “won’t speak out too much” and others that can derail any organization’s D&I efforts. She also provides actionable steps to increase inclusivity and make employees of color feel truly seen and heard.
For Peoples Wagner, the harsh reality is that there isn’t someone who looks like her that she can look up to, but what she has found often by being the only black person and only woman in the room, is a way to encourage and empower young women. "As someone who has been to all the conferences and read all the typical advice of leaning in, I know all too well how hard it can be if you don’t come from a wealthy background, or have the right connections to truly make an impact as badly as you want to," Peoples Wagner says. Sharing her experience from being the only black female editor-in-chief in the United States, to running a multi-million-dollar brand, Peoples Wagner provides honest and authentic advice that has not only inspired women and women of color, but gives them the tools and resources to take action.
Diversity has become a buzzword that is too often thrown around and used to check a box, but inclusivity, really digging deep to make sure that people are included and thought of and considered on every level takes real effort. Peoples Wagner likes to deep delve into ways brands, companies, and schools can take a different approach to inclusivity, and find ways to not only allow people to the party as they say, but ask them to dance and truly feel like they have a seat at the table that allows them to use their voice.
The fashion industry is ever-changing, but there are few people at the helm that understand what it takes to break through the noise in the fashion and beauty spaces like Peoples Wagner. From giving guidance to young students and people trying to break into fashion and beauty, to informing brands and employers on what people are actually looking for from everything to resonating with individuals on social media, to hiring.
As the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, Lindsay Peoples Wagner prioritizes making young people feel seen and heard, with an audience of readers that starts at the age of 12. Most Gen Z young people, anyone born from 1997 to now, is entering a new world of everything from technology to politics. The mistake people have made is thinking that young people are the future, but Peoples Wagner understands that young people are the present and should be valued as such. “We’ve seen everyone from Greta Thunberg to Emma Gonzalez to Malala Yousafzai change the world. It’s about time older audiences took the voices of young people seriously, and listen to what they have to say,” says Peoples Wagner.
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