Leading fashion figures have joined forces to launch the initiative, which aims to make the industry more accessible to people of colour
This week, a trailblazing new charity dedicated to diversifying the fashion industry was launched. The Rubric Initiative hopes to open the doors for young people of colour, by offering financial support, mentorship programmes, and extensive educational resources.
The charity was launched by some of the industry’s leading figures, including AnOther’s senior fashion editor-at-large Nell Kalonji and British Vogue’s fashion news director Olivia Singer. Other collaborators include Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Samuel Ross, Martine Rose, Richard Malone, Supriya Lele, Rosh Mahtani, Andre Walker, Campbell Addy, Brianna Capozzi, Hanna Moon, Joshua Woods, Munroe Bergdorf, Adesuwa Aighewi, and Lynette Nylander. AnOther’s Susannah Frankel, Alexander Fury, Katie Shillingford and Agata Belcen are also involved, along with Dazed’s Isabella Burley and Emma Wyman.
According to Kalonji, the Rubric Initiative has plans to become a powerful force for change. “Having a community, people with more experience who you can call up for advice – without them being worried you’re coming for their job – is vital, both in terms of helping people to progress and building better workplaces,” she explains. “I think everyone deserves that opportunity.”
The Rubric Initiative hopes to make this change in three tangible ways. Firstly, through its Digital Resources, which will include video panels, practical advice, podcasts and group Zoom seminars. Secondly, through its mentoring programmes, which come in the form of six-month, one-to-one sessions. And finally, through financial support, with plans to support living-wage internships and apprenticeships.
“Fashion is a historically homogenous industry,” explain the organisers, in an official statement. “But we believe that the different perspectives introduced by different experiences only enhance the creative conversation. In 2020, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds remain disproportionately underrepresented in our arena.”
“Without making an active effort to encourage and support those who have long been marginalised, the status quo will remain the same. It’s time for change.”