NEW YORK MADE: In response to the systemic issues of inequality and under-representation that exists in various industries including fashion, architecture and design, Pratt Institute is trying to create an avenue for creative and talented students from New York City and New York State.
Pratt will give 20 full scholarships over the next seven years, starting with five full scholarships in the fall of 2021. The guidelines are in step with Pratt’s founding principles of access for all. The Pratt President’s Wallace Augustus Rayfield Scholarships are named in honor of Pratt’s first known Black alumnus, who graduated in 1889. The initiative is under way to support underrepresented minority students who demonstrate significant financial need in each of Pratt’s five schools.
The school recently revealed other efforts to help advance students of color, such as the Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault Scholarship, the Balenciaga and the Black Alumni of Pratt Full Scholarship.
A Pratt spokeswoman said 4 percent of Pratt’s students, 7 percent of the school’s full-time faculty and 5 percent of the part-time faculty are Black or African-American.
For hiring purposes, Pratt launched the Search Advocates program, which assigns designated advocates, who are Pratt faculty and staff, to search committees to make sure that equity and diversity are priorities throughout the search and hiring processes.
Other schools and universities have been starting programs recently to give BIPOC fashion students more educational and career opportunities. Earlier this month The New School’s Parsons School of Design partnered with Burberry to launch the Burberry Creative Arts Scholarship, a five-year fund set up for graduate students who are specializing in different disciplines. Meanwhile, Off-White’s founder and Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh was just named to the Fashion Scholarship board of governors.