Brandice Daniel

As part of a group effort to help Black students pursue careers in fashion, Harlem’s Fashion Row, Icon360 and Gap have joined forces to curate the new “Closing the Gap” initiative.

With funding provided by Gap Inc., “Closing the Gap” will provide financial awards to historically Black colleges and universities that encourage Black students to be innovative in the world of fashion.

Funding fashion departments can be challenging for HBCUs. That can be detrimental for Black students, who are interested in fashion, from learning innovative techniques that would give them a competitive advantage. The program is another effort to try to improve equity in fashion, which has been an industry-wide request by many following the social justice and racial equality movement that started last summer following the murder of George Floyd while under custody of Minneapolis police officers.

Icon360 and Gap are partnering to strengthen educational opportunities for the next generation of fashion leaders. In total, $510,000 will be offered. Last summer Harlem’s Fashion Row reopened the Icon360 fund for Black designers and designers of color. Gap has been partnering with Harlem’s Fashion Row for a few years.

All applicants must hold a leadership position within a HBCU fashion department. In order to be eligible, universities must have a program that allows students to graduate with a degree in fashion design or a fashion concentration such as merchandising or marketing.

All proposals need to include fashion department information highlighting accomplishments, annual events, enrollment and graduation numbers. Applicants must pinpoint a requested amount of funds and explain how they will be used and how the award will positively impact students.

The top award will be for $100,000, followed by three awards for $50,000, six awards for $25,000 and 11 awards for $10,000.

In other news, the Morehouse College of Division of Business Administration and Economics spring information session on Friday is giving employers an opportunity to share information about their companies with the student body. Industry experts will have the chance to speak one-on-one with students. The purpose is to shine a spotlight on participating organizations while explaining operations, goals and employment opportunities to the students.

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