Kith founder Ronnie Fieg took to Instagram this week where he announced Sharifa Murdock has been brought on as “chief of people.” Fieg explained he created the role as part of his promise seven months ago to do better, a response to criticisms he and his company received during Black Lives Matter protests.
With Kith’s status as streetwear brand, a fashion genre whose roots include Black and minority designers and music creatives, commentators mainly have been critical of the company’s hiring practices limiting Black employees to sales positions in stores. Even at the retail level, minority employees including women have described Kith as dismissive of complaints related to treatment.
Commenting on the criticisms, Fieg wrote, “I’ve worked on changing what we do as company and added the responsibility of giving back to a culture that has constantly influenced and inspired me. Not just now, but indefinitely.”
In his post, Fieg wrote that he launched Kith as a lifelong dream but has come to realize that “using the brand as a platform to create change is more important than anything I ever dreamed of accomplishing.”
Noting that he reached out to Murdock in July, Fieg wrote, “Change is never easy. Understanding that I needed help was step one. I needed to hire the best person for the job; someone who would know how to utilize our influence and make the best use of our voice.”
Murdock in part will assist with the set up of a foundation for underprivileged youth. Among other efforts, Murdock will also oversee an effort during Black History Month to highlight independent Black artists through a series of releases, raising funds and awareness for each one’s work and cause.
Murdock’s own resume includes the recent launch of ENVSN Festival, a bi-annual event celebrating young women. She’s also the co-owner of Liberty Fairs trade show, a now global business she established in 2013 with former Project founder Sam Ben-Avraham.
Her connection to Fieg arises through their shared connection to Ben-Avraham, who owned Atrium, a New York-based menswear boutique where Murdock was once employed as a salesperson and where Fieg first launched Kith in 2011 with a footwear shop in shop.