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Fashion Institute of Technology establishes social justice centre

By Rosalie Wessel

8 Dec 2021


Image: Pexels

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has announced the establishment of its Social Justice Centre (SJC), a higher education program that is focused on increasing opportunity.

Aimed at the Black, Indigenous and people of colour community, the centre looks to accelerate social equity within the creative industry. The centre has received support from PVH Corp, Capri Holdings Limited and Tapestry, Inc., with each company having committed 1 million dollars in order to launch the centre.

The centre will provide scholarships for middle school, high school and college students in order to reverse underrepresentation in BIPOC talent. Mentoring will also take place, providing the young professionals with exposure to career opportunities.

Advancement at college levels will be offered in the form of internships, mentorships and apprenticeships by Social Justice Centre partners. The partners will also work with FIT in order to diversify their framework, such as promoting mid-management advancement programs and efforts to diversify leadership positions.

Other industry giants have lent their support, such as Carolina Herrera, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Saks, Target and The Fragrance Foundation. Former president and CEO of Sean John, Jeffrey Tweedy will help to expand and build the centre.

The Social Justice Centre looks to support racially and ethnically diverse talent from middle school to executive level, helping to ensure that BIPOC professionals reach their full potential.

It will do this through four pillars: collaboration with corporate and nonprofit CEOs, access to the talent and expertise of the FIT faculty, ongoing commitment to funding for scholarships and programs, and accountability that identifies and measures the advancement of BIPOC professionals.

The centre will have an industry advisory council of 16 executives who will counsel and help measure the progress of the SJC’s goals.

“A powerful and much overdue dialogue was sparked last year around diversity and inclusion, which led to a sobering realisation that there was much work to do within the creative industries and at FIT as well,” said president of FIT, Joyce F. Brown. “It is our obligation at FIT to mobilise our resources and our network to remove existing obstacles so that racially and ethnically diverse students can be recognised for their value in all of the creative fields.”