Dior RTW Spring 2017

SISTER ACT: Dior is further expanding the scope of its Women @ Dior mentorship program in partnership with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand is joining UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition and opening the Women @ Dior program to 100 female students from Niger, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The announcement was made Wednesday to coincide with World Youth Skills Day.

Dior is the first couture house to join the initiative, which gives disadvantaged female students the opportunity to receive an education focused on inclusion. The expansion of the program is particularly critical in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has jeopardized young women’s access to education, according to the brand.

“Dior is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the role of fashion in female empowerment,” said Emmanuelle Favre, Dior’s director of human resources. “We are proud to have been in the front row for some of the most pivotal moments in women’s history. As new waves of feminism continue to break, we are determined to make a difference.“

The 100 students selected in partnership with UNESCO over the summer will each be able to receive mentorship from a Dior employee and to follow the 10-month Women @ Dior educational program launched online in June. They will receive identical training to the 500 participants already selected for this year’s program.

After following the program, participants will take part in a local project, Dream for Change, aimed at empowering girls and promoting the notion of sisterhood and the transmission of knowledge. “All mentees, in groups, will be invited to create, develop and implement a local initiative supporting the emancipation of young girls in order to help societal attitudes about women evolve and encourage women’s empowerment,” the house said.

“Out of education comes freedom,” stated Dior’s creative director of women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri. “For me, it seems essential to help young girls develop their self-confidence: the confidence to dare, to be independent and to do things. This initiative is more essential than ever in order to create the world of tomorrow.”

The Women @ Dior program launched in 2017, and pairs students of business, engineering, art and fashion from selected universities with young Dior employees. More than 1,000 young women have already participated in the initiative since its launch.

Since she joined Dior in 2016, Chiuri has made it part of her mission to promote women’s empowerment, famously sending out T-shirts emblazoned with the message “We Should All Be Feminists” in her first runway collection for the house and partnering with an array of feminist artists since.