Funding fashion departments at HBCUs can be challenging and that can be detrimental for Black creatives interested in getting a competitive edge.
Gap Inc. and Harlem’s Fashion Row have revealed the winners for scholarships that are being awarded to historically Black colleges and universities as part of the “Closing the Gap” initiative.
As reported in late April, the program will provide $510,000 in funding to 10 fashion departments at HBCUs. The inaugural effort is designed to bridge the gap between education and fashion’s new generation of leaders who are Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
That realization is being made possible through the work of Gap Inc., Harlem’s Fashion Row and Icon360, a nonprofit that is a subsidiary of Harlem’s Fashion Row.
Emphasizing the importance of educating and mentoring the next generation of talent entering the field, Harlem’s Fashion Row founder Brandice Daniel said in a statement, “We look forward to extending this initiative and opportunity by welcoming all incoming professionals.”
Other companies have also recently stepped up to create more of an educational pipeline for Black creatives in order that they may have more job opportunities in fashion and various design disciplines.
Last week, a consortium of design-minded companies including the Herman Miller Group, Levi Strauss, Gap Inc. and others launched the Diversity in Design collaborative to tackle systemic issues around diversity in the design industry.
Separately, musician Travis Scott is supporting young Black creatives by developing a fashion design program with Parsons through his Cactus Jack Foundation that will be unrolled in his hometown of Houston.
The Bridging the Gap award recipients include two scholarships of $100,000 to North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T. Five scholarships of $50,000 will be given to Delaware State University, Howard University, Bowie State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Tennessee State.
In addition, three scholarships of $20,000 will be given to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, Clark Atlanta University and Norfolk State University.
Last week, Harlem’s Fashion Row debuted its first “Fashion Playbook” that was sponsored by Gap Inc. and is an online content library that had youth, middle school, high school and collegiate levels.
Users will find stories, tips and insights from fashion professionals to give them a better understanding of the opportunities that exist in the industry. Among the 22 new videos that will be released in the next year, seven Gap Inc. employees will be featured.