Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

At Designer Brands, we are committed to delivering results in a responsible way that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, improve the well-being of our planet, and empower our associates and customers, while supporting our communities.   

Recognition for Our Work

We’re already moving the needle toward our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals by removing barriers, inspiring self-expression, and leveraging DE&I to achieve tangible results. We are proud to be recognized by multiple organizations for our work. 

Our Focus

We aim to further integrate DEI into Designer Brands' DNA – both internally and externally - in ways that help our associates, our customers, and our planet: 

  • We will ensure current and future talent mirrors our communities.   
  • We will conserve resources and support underserved populations. 
  • We will review and update our policies, practices, and procedures regularly to drive equity.   
  • We will develop our leaders to set the tone, intentionally and consistently, from the top. 

In 2021, we signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, officially committing us to these goals with our associates and board of directors. 

Designer Brands X PENSOLE

Our partnership with Pensole is our largest action-oriented investment to date. Our joint goal is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. As brand builders, we recognize that black designers represent less than five percent of all talent across the greater design industry, and less than 3% of the footwear industry. 

To remove barriers, bring more people of color to the table, and create a path for rewarding careers, we partnered with legendary footwear designer and President of HBCU Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design, Dr. D’Wayne Edwards. Together we’ll build the first Black-owned footwear factory in the United States (JEMS). Top Pensole graduates will have opportunities to have their designs selected for production at JEMS, and their shoes will be sold exclusively by DSW! 

Our Commitments & Partnerships

To further support our ESG efforts, we have multiple strategic and impactful relationships with key partners. These commitments honor the importance of intersectionality. 

These are just a few of our many ongoing efforts. 

Engaging Our Associates

Click here to learn how we're engaging with our associates through Business Interest Groups, Community Interest Groups and Councils.