Gap Inc. and Harlem’s Fashion Row announced on Wednesday the awardees for its second annual “Closing the Gap” initiative.
The fashion conglomerate and the New York-based firm have brought back its “Closing the Gap” initiative to help boost fashion programs at nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country with more than $500,000 in donations.
The initiative works to “strengthen educational opportunities for the next generation of Black, Indigenous and other people of color fashion leaders and provide a platform that empowers these students to propel their studies and drive innovation within the fashion industry,” Gap Inc. and Harlem’s Fashion Row said in a statement.
“Our mission at Harlem’s Fashion Row has always been to bridge the gap between brands and designers of color. Creating equity in the industry starts when these BIPOC designers are developing the skills for their field,” said Brandice Daniel, chief executive officer and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row. “We have seen the impact of our first award and are inspired to continue to support the next generation of fashion leaders.”
The awardees of the “Closing the Gap” funding include North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which both received scholarships of $100,000; Bowie State University, Clark Atlanta University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University and Tennessee State University, which all received $50,000, and Delaware State University and University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, which each received $30,000.
In addition to the scholarships, Gap Inc. will also provide students career opportunities through the Create With Audacity Design Apprenticeship, which is a one-year program where students are partnered with mentors from Gap Inc.
“Empowering the next generation of Black fashion leaders is a responsibility that we owe not only to our customers and communities who look to Gap Inc. to do the right thing, but to the industry who is in need of these critical voices,” said Bahja Johnson, head of customer and community belonging and enablement at Gap Inc. “We are honored and proud to continue partnering with Harlem’s Fashion Row to foster the incredible talent found within HBCUs and unlock their limitless potential.”