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Carly Cushnie helps launch collective to support emerging Black designers. 21 Aug 2020. WENN CPS

Designer Carly Cushnie has launched a new non-profit organization that supports emerging Black talent in the fashion industry. She hopes the collective will “break down barriers and open doors” to the Black community.

The Cushnie creative director and chief executive has joined forces with female industry leaders to launch RAISEfashion, a non-profit organization committed to advancing racial equity in the fashion industry through a consulting advisory network, with RAISE standing for Respect, Advocate, Inspire, Support, and Empower.

Cushnie will sit on the board of directors alongside seven other women, including Net-a-Porter’s Global Buying Director Elizabeth von der Goltz and Buying Director Nayla Touma; Roopa Patel, Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue; and April Hennig, the president of Jonathan Simkhai. The group’s experience spans all fashion business areas, from sales to creative, marketing, and operations.

“The fashion industry can be incredibly difficult to access. There are so many barriers to entry. Our mission is to break down some of these barriers and to open doors to the Black community through strategic mentorship and networking opportunities,” Cushnie said in a statement, reports Footwear News. 

 “As a woman of color, I have personally experienced the incredible impact that established executives can have when they invest in young talent,” added Felita Harris, Co-Founder + CEO of Enform, a platform that connects brands with retail sales teams. “RAISE is offering the Black community access to information and providing networking opportunities that have the potential to change or propel the trajectory of their careers.”

RAISEfashion launched by teaming up with Harlem’s Fashion Row as a partner. The collective will provide mentorship and consulting for every recipient of Harlem Fashion Row’s Icon360 grant, which was given to designers of color amid the coronavirus pandemic.

—Reuters

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