The Capri Holdings Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in Fashion, established in February by Capri Holdings Ltd., has disclosed a broad scholarship program in partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology, Howard University, Pensole Academy and Central Saint Martins – University of Arts London.
Over the next four years, the foundation will fund scholarships for close to 100 students from historically underrepresented and racially diverse communities who are pursuing degrees in fashion and merchandising at these institutions.
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The initiative is part of Capri’s $20 million pledge to advance equality and promote long-term change in the fashion industry. During the multiyear partnership, in addition to covering tuition, room and board, the scholarships will fund internship-related expenses for students obtaining internships within the fashion industry.
Capri will be giving $4 million in total across all four institutions. The students will be selected by each institution’s selection committees and the Capri Foundation board. The students who are selected will receive these funds starting in the fall of 2022.
Capri, whose brands are Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace, said it is committed to furthering workforce diversity by working collaboratively with colleges and high schools to create opportunities in fashion for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Through the development of on-campus recruitment, mentorship and scholarship programs, the foundation looks to position the next generation of talent and prepare students for careers in the fashion industry.
“Our brands are deeply committed to helping students of all backgrounds have greater educational opportunities and real-world experiences,” said John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Capri Holdings. “These scholarships aren’t just designed to ease students’ financial pressures, they are also part of a larger effort to help remove systemic roadblocks and increase opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse students within the fashion industry.”
Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT, praised “the power of education and opportunities for career development and advancement as the life cycle changes that will transform the lives” of under-represented youth. “We are deeply grateful to Capri for recognizing FIT’s focus on these very issues and their generous support.”
Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, D.C., thanked Capri for the opportunity that is being afforded Howard University students.
“The fashion design program was initiated in the fall of 2011 with the goal of preparing the next generation of artist-scholars and designers for careers in fashion design and related industries. While our interdisciplinary program focuses specifically on critical elements of forecasting, production, evaluation, branding and sustainability of textiles, apparel and home furnishings in a global marketplace, we are committed to nurturing socially conscious leaders who can visually and verbally articulate their ideas and compete locally, nationally and globally. Without a doubt, our partners are essential in our efforts to meet the needs of the students as well as industry demands,” said Rashad.
D’Wayne Edwards, founder of Pensole Academy in Portland, Ore., said: “I am truly humbled that the Capri Holdings Foundation believes in our vision to diversify the industry by making it more accessible for those who may have never imagined that they could pursue design as a career. This partnership will inspire thousands of consumers to become creators and will bring forth future leaders that will redefine our industry.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the Capri Holdings Foundation for developing a scholarship program that will support the next generation of fashion leaders from underrepresented communities,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins and Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of the Arts London. “The support will open up opportunities for talented students from diverse backgrounds who might otherwise not be able to engage fully with an education in fashion. This generous gift from the Capri Holdings Foundation will sustain and engage students throughout the full duration of their study, and I look forward to seeing how these promising individuals develop during their time at Central Saint Martins and beyond.”
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