equity | diversity | inclusion
At first threads, we are working hard to create an inclusive and safe space for all. We carry the thoughtfulness we put into the designing and production of our clothing to our commitment to inclusion.
inclusivity & anti-oppression statement
Everyone has a place at first threads - whether you are a customer, a future team member or a member of the community!
We also recognize that systems of oppression within our society can create additional barriers for Black folks, People of Colour, Indigenous Persons, members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, persons with disabilities and those from historically excluded groups. We acknowledge and will take responsibility for our part in eliminating these barriers.
We stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and denounce the rise in attacks against Asians in Canada and around the world. We are committed to supporting and uplifting the Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
We know that this work cannot be rushed.
We will continuously work to check our own biases, to further our learning and to examine and dismantle barriers that prevent those from being part of the first threads community.
We will always be transparent about where we are in our EDI journey. Currently, we are a small team of two white, hetero, cisgender women and we promise that as we grow and build our team and community, we will do so by centering equity, diversity and inclusion.
We have a lot of learning to do and may not always get it right.
We practice gentle call-ins and encourage you to reach out to us if you want to bring an issue to our attention.
To ensure that we are striving towards an inclusive space, we commit to:
Creating a diverse space where folks of different lived experience and backgrounds are part of the first threads team at all levels.
Ensuring our branding images reflect our diverse customers.
Using inclusive, gender neutral language offline and online.
Practicing compassionate call-ins.
Being vigilant in our allyship.
Addressing incidents offline and online that go against our inclusion commitments including hateful and disrespectful speech and other problematic behaviour.
Moving through any moment of discomfort by acknowledging to learn and do better.
our name & word origins
first threads: the word first was chosen to represent the children’s aspect of our brand and threads (a slang word for clothing) was chosen as a play on words since originally Kate was sewing all of the clothing herself.
Before our launch in 2021 we realized through our research that our brand name first threads was appropriating Black culture through use of the word “threads”. The word “threads” is African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also known as Black Vernacular English (BVE) or African American English (AAE).
The history of AAVE is complex and deep with its roots in both African dialect and/or Carribean Creole English and links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. AAVE is its’ own language, but there is a history of it being labelled incorrectly as bad English. It has resulted in many Black folks having to code switch in order to not be discriminated against in certain spaces, while other folks use it to be relevant and “sound cool”. Slang words that are used in North American pop culture are often created by Black folks and appropriated by those outside of the community.
After working with Bakau Consulting, we decided to continue to use the name first threads. We feel that by continuing to use the name, it provides an opportunity for discussion about AAVE that may not have taken place otherwise.
It is also important for us not only to acknowledge this and to continue the conversation but also to compensate the Black community for our continued use of this word. We have decided to redirect 1% of total sales every quarter to organizations that support the Black community. We aim to donate to different organizations and that information will be publicly available here.
• Instagram @softieshan on her series for Black History Month- week 4 AAVE(currently on her highlights). We gathered some of this information from her highlights. If you go and learn from this information provided by Shanique, please consider donating to firstname.lastname@example.org that funds can be distributed to the Black community in BC. More information can be found at: https://www.shaniquekelly.com/give-back-to-black
land acknowledgement and our relationship with indigenous peoples
We acknowledge with gratitude and respect that first threads is based on the traditional and unceded territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-wendat, and Mississaugas of the New Credit people.
We respect and honour their sovereignty, their right to self-determination, and their sacred spiritual connection with the land and water. Because they were and are such gracious stewards of the land, we are able to raise our children, support our livelihood, and experience so much joy here.
We recognize that the simple act of being settlers in our current society means that we are complicit in white supremacy and oppression. We may only be two people with a small business but we are committed to taking whatever steps we can towards taking responsibility for our relationship with the land and Indigenous Peoples.
As a starting point, we are committed to paying reparations and will redirect 1% of total sales every quarter to organizations that support the Indigenous community.