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Diversity in a team - how can a fashion label actively live diversity today?

AUF AUGENHOEHE is a company dedicated to the topic of diversity. So far so good. Maybe you've already visited our team page and taken a look at our Advisory Board. And maybe you have noticed that AUF AUGENHOEHE was founded by a non-little person. We're repeatedly being asked what the motivation behind that is. Why we are working to contribute to more diversity in the fashion world? Although the core team of AUF AUGENHOEHE is anything but diverse, it is worth taking a look at the whole team. From the very beginning of the label, the close exchange with various members of the community has been as natural as breathing. But diversity is a complex and holistic topic that cannot be dealt with in one sentence.

What exactly is diversity?

I know that this is grey theory, but one first has to understand what diversity actually is in order to develop meaningful solutions. Our favourite online encyclopaedia Wikipedia writes that diversity is the degree of differences in identifying features among the members of a purposefully defined group. More concretely, in the corporate context, it is the multiplicity or diversity of the workforce, which is multi-layered and multifaceted. Diversity is also based on six diversity characteristics, which are set out in the Diversity Charter.

1. gender

2. cultural or national origin

3. religion or belief

4. disability

5. age

6. sexual orientation and identity

That sounds plausible at first. It will be challenging if the team diversity is to be put into practice. Because this requires a diversity competence for holistic implementation in companies.

The question arises as to how and whether diversity in teams can be measured. At what point would you say that a team is diverse? The question seems simple at first, but on closer inspection it turns out to be very complex. In other areas of our lives, diversity measurement methods already exist. In biology, for example, the biodiversity of ecosystems is measured using the Shannon Index. It provides an index number and allows the comparison between ecosystems. Theoretically, a principle like the Shannon Index could be extended to the ecosystem team, but I can't help but find it cold and impersonal. Shouldn't team diversity be something organic? Because nature shows us here too: In the long run, those ecosystems with the highest biodiversity are more resilient and survive longer.

Diversity management can help here. In this context, the perception, use and development of the best individual performance of all employees is understood and encouraged. Although it is difficult to measure diversity objectively, there are still opportunities to monitor the progress towards the company's internal diversity goals. At AUF AUGENHOEHE, for example, we use regular surveys, an open feedback culture with the Advisories and our customers and the evaluation of the workforce structure to evaluate our diversity strategy.

For the Advisory Board, we ensure that there is a diverse mix of people who can best represent the interests of our customers and the community. In return, this strengthens our corporate culture, promotes visibility and equality, enables an open feedback culture and creates space for innovative ideas.

Diversity and our Advisory Board

Our collaboration with the Advisory Board and the community varies from person to person. Depending on the competences and interests of the people involved, different topics are examined in more detail. From meetings in a workshop format to solve concrete fields of action, the review of current styles and looks to work in day-to-day business, everything is included. In order to ensure constant progress, we are currently working on a better structure to ensure regular exchange with our advisors.

»Diversity is not a short-term project, but a journey.«
Sema Gedik Team with face masks on stairs

For us, however, diversity is not a short-term project, but a journey. This means that we are constantly working to improve our diversity skills. This is precisely where the Advisory Board proves to be a highly rewarding means of constantly learning and following the right path. At this point, we do not shy away from critical examination of our work, as we understand our development as a process. We are convinced that diversity cannot only be shown to the outside world, but must also be lived behind the scenes in the team and the community. We want a community that also embodies values of diversity, inclusion and equality.

In this sense I ask you: Do you think that AUF AUGENHOEHE is diverse? Where do you see opportunities for us to improve? Maybe you would also like to actively participate in shaping AUF AUGENHOEHE? Write us a message at Instagram or Facebook @aufaugenhoehe.design or send an email to info@aufaugenhoehe.design!