Tapestry Inc. and its Kate Spade New York brand have introduced a new three-year partnership with Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR).
The new multiyear mentorship program is part of HFR’s annual HBCU Fashion Summit, which aims to transform the art and fashion programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across America by providing students with direct design expertise from industry experts.
According to Kate Spade, the new partnership will offer students at Bowie State University — Maryland’s oldest HBCU — access to engage with the brand’s team of executive leaders and designers.
As part of the Fashion Summit, students will learn from Kate Spade leaders, including CEO and brand president Liz Fraser; SVP of brand concept and strategy Kristen Naiman; SVP and head of ready-to-wear and lifestyle design Tom Mora; SVP and head of leather goods and accessories design Jennifer Lyu; and Tapestry’s chief inclusion and social impact officer David Casey.
The curriculum will extend from Sept. 27 through the spring semester. Topics to be explored include Kate Spade Accessory Design 101; Concept, Print and Color; How to Build the Bones of a Brand; RTW, Shoes, Jewelry, Eyewear; Mental Health and the Fashion Industry; plus more.
“We are committed to investing in and supporting diverse talent and are excited to bring this partnership to life with Harlem’s Fashion Row — an organization we have long respected as a pioneer in the industry — alongside our parent company, Tapestry,” Fraser said in a statement. “We have designed the curriculum to highlight Kate Spade New York’s strengths and our teams’ successes to give students an opportunity to work directly with the team members — from all levels — who are driving those successes.”
Tapestry added that its three-year partnership with HFR will later expand to include leaders from across its global house of brands, including Coach and Stuart Weitzman.
As part of the initiative, Tapestry will also sponsor Bowie State University’s Senior Capstone Fashion Show and offer industry experience to students through internship opportunities across its roster of brands.
“With Tapestry’s overwhelming support for our core initiative, to holistically prepare Gen-Z for fashion’s workforce with comprehensive programming, I’m confident, together, we can provide scholars with an opportunity to thrive in an incredibly transformative externship experience,” added Brandice Daniel, CEO and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row. “The industry is vying for change, but we can only be most innovative when Black talent is included.”
This partnership follows HFR’s 2021 mentorship program with LVMH, which saw Tiffany & Co. sponsor a similar 10-week lecture series at North Carolina A&T State University’s Art and Fashion Department.