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Designers Bringing Diversity to Fashion By: Sadé Lawful

In light of the world’s recent events, COVID, racial injustices, and the upcoming election, a lot of people have fallen on hard times. Some of fashion’s leaders have recognized how creatives are suffering and have decided to help. Virgil Abloh has recently dropped a free mentorship program known as “Free Game.” He has also started his own foundation named the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. Kerby Jean-Raymond has also decided to step up. He launched his own platform: Your Friends in New York (YFINY).

Virgil Abloh is the creative director of Louis Vuitton and chief executive officer of fashion house Off-White. He is mostly known for his collaborations with Nike for his deconstructed sneakers. Following backlash for only donating $50 to black organizations during the protesting of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and police brutality, Abloh released his new foundation for “the next generation of black fashion industry leaders.” Virgil has partnered with the Fashion Scholarship Fund, which has raised $1 million to go specifically to black students through a scholarship. In addition to receiving a scholarship, recipients will be introduced to aid in the form of mentorships and career support.

Abloh has also released his mentorship program, “Free Game,” which is supported by his “Post-Modern” Scholarship foundation. Upon first entering the website, you will see a table of contents consisting of a step-by-step guide on how to start your own brand. This guide includes trademarking, learning to use adobe software, screen printing, and so much more. Each section contains a summary and has linked YouTube videos free of charge, hence the name “Free Game.”

Kerby Jean-Raymond is the founder of Pyer Moss and the global creative director of Reebok. His work was first seen being worn by Rihanna. Now, the 2020 CFDA Menswear Designer recipient of the Year is known for bringing Black Lives Matter to New York Fashion Week and his insane choirs on the runway. In partnership with Francois-Henri Pinault, they created “Your Friends in New York,” a creative platform. The purpose of YFINY intends “to support ‘minority and women-owned small creative businesses’” with funds from Kerby Jean-Raymond and Francois-Henri Pinault. They hope to expand to philanthropic initiatives, a merchandise label, and much more with possible collaborations with Pyer Moss. Once you enter the site, you are greeted with a message from the team of YFINY: “this groundbreaking new platform is designed to empower the next generation of innovators…[and] will merge fashion, art, music, philanthropy, and wellness to form an eco-system of creativity.” Although business owners can sign up now, the program will officially be launching in 2021.

Both designers, Virgil and Kerby, have taken the initiative to make the fashion industry more diverse and inclusive. They are creating the change that they want to see. These programs were created to offer opportunities to those who normally would not have them. Giving a platform to minorities allows for representation within fashion and a voice to those who are not being heard. The industry is progressing much like the world that it is surrounded by and Virgil Abloh and Kerby Jean-Raymond are making sure of it.

For all of my creatives out there, be on the lookout for the “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, Free Game mentorship, and Your Friends in New York! You may be the next designer or artist to make a very much needed impact on this world!

Source: YFINY


Source: Esquire and Wikipedia

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