The Fashion Minority Alliance today announced its partnership with the UK-based Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFF), a charity that bridges the gap between education and employment. As a part of its broader commitment to fuel BIPOC pipeline initiatives, this latest project is aimed at sustaining the focus on empowering underrepresented and marginalised students by engaging and supporting them in their endeavours to fulfil their creative potential within the exclusive realm of fashion and design.
Launching today, during the GFF’s ongoing Graduate Fashion Week taking place 20th – 24th June at Coal Drops Yard Kings Cross, the inaugural project sees Fashion Minority Alliance co-hosting a panel talk to kick off the partnership. Entitled “Big Fish, New Pond…. Navigating The Fashion Industry, Following Education”, the panel will unite industry thought-leaders: Andrew Ibi, designer, educator and founder of FACE, Vanessa Spence, ASOS Design Director; Anita Chhiba, Creative Director and Founder Diet Paratha, and Tejumola Butler Adenuga, Multidisciplinary Artist and Designer.
Additionally, the launch programme includes the hosting of inner city youth groups and several schools where students, between the ages of 12 and 17, will be hosted onsite at Graduate Fashion Week to enjoy a day of interactive fashion-immersion to inspire and empower them to pursue and shape a path, for the creative career they want, at a time they are making decisions about next steps. Alongside being part of a peer network each student will have access to the Diversity and Inclusivity Fashion Showcase, meet university tutors, graduate designers and encounter their work plus attend a runway show and learn about the making of a catwalk show.
In phygital format, elements of the Fashion Futures project will be launched and showcased at Graduate Fashion Week, while an identical digital version will be housed on the respective Fashion Minority Alliance and Graduate Fashion Foundation websites. The one-stop Fashion Futures education and careers hub on the Graduatefashionfoundation.com website will bring together a full range of relevant tools, guidance and strategic support focused on ensuring diversity and inclusion. Hosting information on higher education support, funding advice for university, information on lifecycle of a garment and sustainability advice, downloadable activities to do from home and inspire career options and be home to new industry guest speaks sharing top tips on joining their industry. Additionally Fashion Minority Alliance website will host career advice and pathways to support young people to really understand the breadth of careers available in the fashion and design sectors, virtual up skilling programmes, CV and interview workshop sessions, mentor matching, and career path videos all specifically designed and coordinated to develop a talent pool of underrepresented and marginalised young people equipped with the skills and knowledge of the industry.
The project would not be possible without the financial support of US-based, Fortune 500 company, PVH Corp, which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands. Under its PVH Foundation Commitment No. 9 project the company has earmarked a US$10 million investment, to amplify awareness of and access to opportunities in the fashion industry for underserved and underrepresented communities, with the undertaking to disburse the funds over the next four years. PVH has committed to work with like-minded non-profit partners, who share their diversity and inclusion values, to support programming for high school students and training for individuals with “non-traditional” backgrounds with fashion industry aspirations.
Fashion Minority Alliance Co-Founder Barbara Kennedy-Brown said: “PVH has supported us from the beginning, and we cannot thank its executives and employees enough for the company’s enduring support. Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. This latest partnership with Graduate Fashion Foundation allows us to break down an old system to afford underrepresented and marginalised primary and secondary school students the rare opportunity to be encouraged, inspired and guided on a pathway to successfully enter the challenging but exciting fashion and creative industries. It is an honour to work with Graduate Fashion Foundation as it has been a springboard for new talent and a vital bridge between education and employment in the fashion and design space.”
Nicola Hitchens, GFF Director and Head of Special Projects at Graduate Fashion Foundation said: “The Graduate Fashion Foundation is honoured to be selected as the UK charity representative for the PVH Global Commitment No.9 Project. We are thrilled to collaborate with Fashion Minority Alliance on the delivering of such a vital and needed project to support and further young grassroots talent to have access and backing to enter the arts and future education.”
Fashion Minority Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organisation, has organised educational talks, designed programmes to increase underrepresented young people’s encounters and work with employers, created social impact initiatives and early-stage BIPOC business mentorships, organised designer showcases in strategic fashion cities worldwide, garnering the attention of fashion’s most powerful leaders. Amassing a powerful network of global industry professionals, who are dedicated to charting a more equitable and diverse future, Fashion Minority Alliance is committed to up-skilling and widening access for individuals currently underrepresented in the fashion sector and continues to enhance its Talent Directory Database, Internship Agency and European Union RP Service. With the objective to tactically work with fashion, beauty and creative industry stakeholders to build and foster a more diverse, balanced, and inclusive industry that advances meaningful and long-term equity for BIPOC and marginalised talent. Fashion Minority Alliance also works with organising bodies across the board to forge initiatives and pipeline opportunities across all industry areas globally.
For press enquiries, contact:
Gareth Edwards at Fashion Minority Alliance
Tel: +44 (0) 207 729 8886
Nicola Hitchens at Graduate Fashion Foundation
Tel: +44 (0) 207 158 3170