The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has announced the launch of the Social Justice Centre (SJC), a higher education programme aimed at expanding opportunities.
The centre, which is aimed at the Black, Indigenous, and people of colour communities, aims to improve social fairness in the creative business. PVH Corp, Capri Holdings Limited, and Tapestry, Inc. have all pledged one million dollars to help the centre get off the ground.
To combat underrepresentation of BIPOC talent, the centre will offer scholarships to students in middle school, high school, and college. Mentoring will also take place, giving young people exposure to several career options.
Internships, mentorships, and apprenticeships will be available through Social Justice Centre partners at the college level. The partners will also collaborate with FIT to broaden their framework by supporting mid-management progression programmes and other initiatives.
Carolina Herrera, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Target, and The Fragrance Foundation have all donated their support. Jeffrey Tweedy, the former president and CEO of Sean John, will assist in the expansion and construction of the centre.
From middle school to executive level, the Social Justice Centre aims to encourage racially and ethnically diverse talent, ensuring that BIPOC professionals attain their maximum potential.
It will achieve this through core elements: partnership with commercial and humanitarian CEOs, access to the FIT faculty’s talent and experience, continual commitment to scholarship and programme funding, and responsibility that recognises and tracks BIPOC professional advancement.
The SJC will have a 16-member industry advisory group that will provide guidance and help monitor progress toward the SJC’s objectives.
“Last year, a tremendous and long-overdue debate about diversity and inclusion began, leading to a somber awareness that there was much work that can be done within the creative industries and at FIT as well,” said Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT. “At FIT, it is our responsibility to organize our tools and connections to remove existing barriers so that racially diverse students are valued in all creative professions.”