Dockers uplifts diverse Black voices making a difference

The brand’s ‘Recognize’ series features Gage Crismond, co-founder of arts and surf collective Black Sand.

There are plenty of untold stories from inspiring Black creators, influencers and community members. 

Dockers has been putting a spotlight on those unheard voices with its series Recognize, created with creative agency Laundry Service, which highlights the diverse and talented individuals making a difference in their communities. 

The multifaceted series includes film, still photography, a longform editorial feature on Dockers’ website and social channels, and is backed by paid social. Dockers is also donating to charities on subjects’ behalf.

The latest installment of Recognize features Gage Crismond, the co-founder of Black Sand, a Los Angeles-based arts and surf collective. He shares that his goal is to simply be a “carefree Black man” through his love of dance, photography and surfing. 

Crismond’s eclectic and confident attitude also translates into his style. “If I can feel confident in what I’m wearing every single day, then I should have the power to be confident in everything else that I do,” he says in the episode. 

Dockers was introduced to Crismond through another series partner, action sports icon Selema Masekela, who signed onto the project after being featured in Recognize in March. 

Other Recognize participants include Ryan Harris, the owner of the first and only 100% zero waste surfboard company; Maryse Pearce, program manager at the LGBTQ+ non-profit Stonewall Community Foundation; and Ron Griswell, founder and CEO of HBCUs Outside.

The idea was sparked by Dockers’ 35th anniversary this year, which brought the apparel brand back to its “California roots,” Lauren Johnson, Dockers’ global head of marketing, told Campaign US. 

“We believe in promoting the relaxed, cool, confident style and optimism of California and the values that are really rooted here,” she said. “And those are a deep love and appreciation for natural resources, and also the progressive values around people, equality, and inclusivity.” 

Dockers decided to launch the series earlier this year to further infuse diversity into its brand beyond a quick Black History Month acknowledgement. “We want to continue the conversation,” Johnson said. 

She added: “We're deeply rooted in our values here as a company, and we live them internally. But there is truly power in public conversation. I think a lot of brands are doing the same. Hopefully that promotes competition and creates more of this visibility celebration amongst many more brands.”

Dockers plans to expand its inclusivity marketing efforts in 2021 and beyond, allowing more people to be heard. 

“[The campaign] is built around what it means to feel recognized,” Johnson said. “That idea translates and transcends so many different people.”


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