Wanting to go to college is not the same as being able to go to college. And the sad truth is that college is not an option for all people. Due to circumstances that are either controlled or uncontrollable, people don’t have the means to afford the education they deserve. And unfortunately, for minorities and people born into the system, this is more common than white counterparts. Historically, in this country, people of color, immigrants, and people who are generally othered, have to work harder than white Americans. It is true that the system was not created for us and because of this, we don’t always have the money or luxuries that others have, college being a main one.
Although it is not always easy asking for a helping hand, scholarships to college is something we have to think about when applying to college. The need is heavily there and unfortunately, is not enough for all minorities to benefit from. Luckily, fashion companies are getting more attuned to this information and showing up to do something about it. They have realized that with more minorities going to college, there will be a better chance at diversifying the industry. Ever since George Floyd’s murder and the world-wide racial reckoning that occured as a result of it, people have been more inclined to take inventory of their racial tendencies and work to provide more opportutieis for people of color.
Fashion houses like Gucci have had need-based scholarship programs since 2019 to help minorities. The Fashion Scholarship Fund also has helped underserved communities study fashion for more than 10 years now. And then you have the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund that helps Black students study fashion. Following this brands like Net-a-Porter, Pacsun, Burberry, Macy’s, American Eagle, Coach, and Brandon Maxwell have all hopped on the scholarship train and work tirelessly to provide resources and funding to those that really need and deserve it.
This momentum also put pressure on fashion schools who decided to up their funding for people of color. The Fashion Institute of Technology has a Social Justice Center that offers equitable opportunities to underserved students to help create educated, talented, and creative future employees. Their Social Justice Center has the backing from Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carolina Herrera, Prada and so many more. They strive everyday to make sure BIPOC students have the tools and resources to become competitive new hires in the fashion industry, and ultimately to climb the ladder in their prospective sectors as far as they should choose.
It’s good to see the fashion industry striving to close the income gap so that BIPOC students can study properly. In related news, learn why and how Ralph Lauren partnered with alum for their HBCU-inspired collegiate collection.
Photo via Nadine Ijewere/Ralph Lauren