3 Mentorship Programmes Making a Difference in the Fashion Industry

Pursuing a career in the fashion industry can be an overwhelming concept. For students on the cusp of graduation or aspiring designers, writers, stylists, and more, it can oftentimes be difficult to know where to begin when seeking roles, opportunities, and even just a foot in the door. Now more than ever, we understand the value of mentorship, and thankfully, there is an increasing number of programmes being created to foster these kinds of opportunities.

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, RAISEfashion was founded recently by a collective of industry leaders with the aim of raising the voices of Black-owned brands and individuals through meaningful mentorship. The Junior Network is a UK–based mentorship programme that pairs junior fashion professionals with seniors in the industry in order to build relationships, while U.G.L.Y Tribe supports women from marginalised or disadvantaged groups through workshops, coaching, and one-on-one sessions.

Fashion Mentorship Programmes:

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To highlight the importance of these initiatives, we've spoken to the passionate leaders behind the three programmes—Alexa Geovanos, co-founder and board member of RAISEfashion; Dior Bediako, founder of The Junior Network; and Yanique Pennicooke of U.G.LY Tribe—to understand exactly what their programmes offer, how the initiatives came to be, and most importantly, how you apply. Keep scrolling to learn more. 

RAISEfashion

How did the programme come to be?

The concept for RAISEfashion came together at the intersection of the pandemic and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was clear that we had to do something to resist "business as usual" in our jobs and personal lives. Sharing our expertise freely in an effort to redistribute resources to Black designers and business people while hopefully making the industry more inclusive just made sense. The idea that fashion can be used to make commentary on our society is not new, but I don't think many of our advisors, including myself, have ever viewed their professional skills as a way to fight racial inequality. We are all learning from each other.

What type of mentorship does RAISEfashion offer?

RAISEfashion is a nonprofit advisory network consisting of 100+ fashion professionals with experience in all sectors of the industry, including marketing and communications, branding, merchandising, and business development. We offer one-on-one mentorship and specialized consulting sessions to brands as well as career services for individuals.

How do you apply for the programme?

To submit an application, please visit raisefashionnow.org/contact-us.

To learn more about RAISEfashion, see here.

The Junior Network

How did the programme come to be?

The Junior Network started as a members club for entry-level fashion professionals. Every three months, we would host incredible panel discussions with senior leaders from Farfetch, Vogue, British Fashion Council, ES Magazine, and many incredible companies. We also hosted brand-led events with Birchbox, ChloéDigital, Who What Wear, Smashbox to name a few. 

Our members loved that we were closing the gap between them and their idols. Seeing how transformative those events were for our members, I wanted those connections to last longer than a single moment. The natural next step was to close the gap even further by introducing a 12-month mentorship programme, and here we are!

What type of mentorship does The Junior Network offer? 

We connect junior fashion professionals with senior fashion leaders based on the junior’s career goals and the senior's expertise. The aim is for the next generation to build genuine relationships with people who have walked the same path. Once paired, the mentor champions their personal and professional development for a full 360 growth opportunity.

How do you apply for the programme? 

Email us! Drop us a line on hello@thejuniornetwork.com, and we’ll email you straight away with an application form. We’re also happy to call anyone that’s curious, and we will talk through any queries. The Junior Network is all about giving people a real chance to connect and build their network, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

To learn more about The Junior Network, see here

U.G.L.Y Tribe

What is U.G.L.Y Tribe?

Understanding Girls Like You (U.G.L.Y Tribe) is an organisation aimed at supporting young women aged 16-30 from marginalised, underrepresented, and disadvantaged groups. The programme supports young women through a series of self-development workshops, coaching, mentoring, and events. Our sessions enhance personal, entrepreneurial, and employability skills, preparing young women to "propel into greatness," building self-esteem and confidence, and encouraging leadership and entrepreneurship. Our programme combines group workshops and ongoing one-to-one activity, encouraging and facilitating peer-to-peer support.

What type of mentorship does U.G.L.Y Tribe offer?

We offer young women from disadvantaged communities who have completed our U.G.L.Y Tribe programme one-to-one mentoring. It is delivered by industry professionals who have undergone our induction training and are motivated to support young women who have never had the opportunity to meet professionals in the sector. The mentoring journey is one of engagement, discovery, and learning, leading to new perspectives on their future.

How did the programme come to be?

Understanding Girls Like You (U.G.L.Y Tribe) was founded by Letricia Black in 2018 with the belief that all women should have access to self-development opportunities irrespective of their socio-economic status, background, or finances. Her aim was to create a sisterhood/tribe of women who would support one another to become the absolute best versions of themselves and “thrive in their truth” irrespective of their current situations or life experiences. This was driven by her own life experiences and working with marginalised groups of young women throughout her professional career.

To bring her dream alive, Letricia teamed up with Yanique Pennicooke, who brought a passion to make a positive change within her community. Having faced homelessness at a young age, Yanique knows the importance of such opportunities, and the duo is committed to providing opportunities for marginalised groups of women, challenging inequality, and building a community of women who support one another to achieve their goals.

Our mission is to ensure better representation for marginalised and underrepresented groups of young women in society, education, and work. Our energy is focused on enabling young women to reach independence, know their self-worth, be unapologetically themselves (feel comfortable in their own skin), and thrive in their truth in any arena and/or environment. 

How do you apply to become a part of the programme? 

Our award-winning programme uses alternative education to support young women to develop their self-confidence and well-being, further creating opportunities for work experience, internships, and training. To register your interest, send us an email on hello@uglytribe.org.

To learn more about U.G.L.Y Tribe, see here

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