North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s (N.C. A&T) fashion merchandising and design program is partnering with fashion agency Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) and luxury-goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) to prepare the school’s fourth-year students for careers in the luxury fashion industry.
In a 10-week-long lecture series, “Tenacity Talks,” industry experts from HFR and jeweler Tiffany & Co. – part of LVMH – will share practical knowledge, advice, and experiences to associate professor Dr. Devona Dixon’s fashion class.
N.C. A&T’s fashion program was one of three historically Black college and university (HBCU) programs nationwide chosen for the series, Brandice Daniel, CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row, said during the first lecture.
“The goal of this program is to prepare all of you to come into this industry when you graduate from college, which you will be able to do because you will have gotten the connections and knowledge that you need, you will have heard what it takes and you’ll understand,” Daniel said.
This fall, 16 students and three faculty will visit New York City’s fashion district to tour of Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store and headquarters and engage with company executives and seminars.
During an Aug. 24 class, Daniel spoke about the industry’s changes since she founded HFR in 2007.
“One of the conversations that was really difficult to have (then) was race,” Daniel said. “Brands didn’t want to talk about it, the industry didn’t want to talk about it … then, things started to shift a little bit around 2018. There were a lot of articles that were coming out, there were a lot of conversations about race.”
That, paired with the 2020 murder of George Floyd, was the beginning of a shift by brands to increase inclusivity and train underrepresented fashion students for the industry, said Daniel.
“This is where you all come in,” she said. “This is an industry that is ripe for change. And it needs to change.”