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Graduate Fashion Foundation teaming up with Gap for mentoring

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

15 Nov 2021


Image: courtesy of Graduate Fashion Foundation by Rory James

Graduate Fashion Foundation, which supports newly graduated and undergraduate students, has announced that it is teaming up with Gap Inc to scale up its mentoring programme to support the Class of 2021.

The Graduate Fashion Mentoring Programme, open to all Class of 2021 graduates who studied a course registered at a GFF UK Member university, provides support for graduates as they enter the fashion industry by pairing them with a long-term experienced industry mentor for 12 months.

It is an initiative that the Graduate Fashion Foundation states can help improve the skills of talented, young graduates and help them towards achieving successful careers, boosting employability and enriching the UK fashion industry.

By partnering with Gap Inc, the Graduate Fashion Foundation said that it will be able to offer the mentoring scheme to more students, who will be offered mentoring opportunities through all of Gap Inc’s lifestyle brands including Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta.

Joy Campbell, director of brand partnerships at the Graduate Fashion Foundation, said in a statement: “We are absolutely delighted that Gap Inc have partnered with us to enable us to deliver the mentoring programme to more students than ever – at a time when it could not be more needed.

“The Class of 2021 had their studies greatly affected by the pandemic and are entering a hugely competitive job market, yet the support from Gap Inc means that more of the Class of 2021 will get the invaluable experience of a 1:1 industry mentor – the programme has proven that this kind of support really does make a positive impact on the early careers of our Graduates.”

Gap Inc to support Graduate Fashion Foundation’s mentoring programme

Campbell added: “Not only will Gap Inc. be sharing advice via our digital platforms for those looking for employment in the fashion industry but they will also be supporting by providing mentors from throughout their business that will allow us to work with more graduates than ever before.”

Simon O’Mahony, director of creative talent acquisition at Gap Inc., said: “The impact of the pandemic on the Graduate Fashion Week participants was tremendous, and students missed out on the opportunity to engage with and learn from fashion industry leaders through this program. As the world begins to turn the corner, Gap Inc. is doubling down on its support of GFW in deeper and more meaningful ways - supporting early career growth of GFW graduates through our new, more robust mentoring programme.

“We are proud to offer one-on-one mentoring opportunities with diverse, emerging designers across all four of our purpose-driven lifestyle brands – Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta - that will give emerging design talent the chance to learn from seasoned professionals and build the foundations they need to succeed in the industry.”

Class of 2021 graduates can apply to the mentoring programme to access help on how to make the move towards employment and receive advice on best work practices and professional approaches, as well as how to tailor CVs and portfolios and interview techniques.

All applications for the scheme are reviewed by a panel. The final graduates are selected based upon what they are looking to gain from the mentorship experience and individual future aims with both industry and their personal careers.

The Graduate Fashion Foundation is the world’s largest platform for BA Fashion talent with an annual event taking place at Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross in London. Over the past 30 years, the charitable organisation has supported and guided more than 100,000 students as it bridges the gap between graduation and employment. It has helped launch the careers of successful designers including Christopher Bailey, who was the winner of the first-ever Gold Award and now a Lifetime Patron of the charity, as well as Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon, Matthew Williamson and Julien MacDonald.