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FashMash launches Young Pioneers mentoring scheme

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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London-based fashion community FashMash has announced a new mentoring scheme designed to support and nurture the next generation of fashion talent, in particular, those from ethnic minorities and from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The Young Pioneers initiative will team 12 senior FashMash members, including Claire Bergkamp, global sustainability and innovation director from Stella McCartney and Kate Walmsley, digital and e-commerce consultant, former digital director of Topshop and New Look, with a select group of those at the beginning of their careers.

The six-month programme is intended to be inclusive for all, but co-founders Rosanna Falconer and Rachel Arthur states it has been designed particularly to support ethnic minorities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the wider ramifications of Covid-19.

The 12 mentees will gain access to monthly mentoring sessions, networking opportunities, invitations to the FashMash community’s biannual networking events as well as its monthly mainline Pioneers speaker series, and a calendar of coaching sessions and intimate talks focused on personal and professional development, with the aim of actively providing opportunities for these less represented groups to succeed in the fashion industry.

FashMash is calling for UK applicants under 25 years old, who are in an entry-level position within or associated with fashion and have an annual income of less than 25,000 pounds, who are looking to “shape the future of the industry” to apply before August 14 to take part.

FashMash opens applications for Young Pioneers fashion industry mentoring programme

If successful, applicants will take part in the Young Pioneers programme from September, and will be teamed up with mentors including Ahmed Ashraf, head of digital at L’Oréal Luxe, Jenny Cossons, chief partnerships officer at Lyst, Maria McClay, senior industry head of luxury at Google, Nina Patel, director of retail innovation Farfetch, Olly Rzysko, chief marketing officer at Mahabis and co-founder of Ecologi, Susie Mashford, head of marketing at Ganni, Vanessa Belleau, founder and director at High Fifteen, and Wilson Oryema, artist, writer and co-founder of Regenerative Futures.

Upon graduation from the programme, the Young Pioneers will also be invited to become a full FashMash member.

To expand the reach of the programme, FashMash has also partnered with Dior Bediako's The Junior Network, a members club supporting and educating young fashion professionals. Three of the mentees will be selected from this network. Consultant Frederica Brooksworth is also on board to devise and curate the learning and development programme that will run alongside the mentoring.

Commenting on the scheme, Falconer said in a statement: “Our business mission is to drive industry change. This is only possible with an inclusive industry that champions a broad wealth of talent from the black community, broader minorities, younger generations and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. If opportunity is only offered to the privileged few, we will be overlooking the future founders, leaders and creatives that will drive the transformation that is needed.”

Co-founder Arthur added: “We need to support those within the industry who have the potential but not necessarily the access for success. True change will only happen this way. Our mentoring programme aims to provide guidance and advice from a variety of diverse role models – enabling them to pay it forward to a more inclusive, next generation.”

Applications for the Young Pioneers closes on August 14 on FashMash’s website.

Image: courtesy of FashMash

Young Pioneers