UPS and IMG recently announced their newest initiative to showcase the work of Black creatives at New York Fashion Week.
First reported by WWD, the initiative, known as NYFW: The Shows Small Business Grant Supported by UPS, will provide funds for three students from HBCUs who are studying fashion design. With each student set to receive $50,000, they will have the opportunity to have their work shown on the runaway of the upcoming New York Fashion Week shows in September.
As part of the partnership, each applicant will have their work looked at by a special committee. The committee is composed of beauty editor Kahlana Barfield Brown, director of the IMG Fashion Events & Properties Anthony Demetrius, and the senior vice president of global talent at WME Fashion, Ali Bird. Once the awardees are chosen, each student will also be mentored by this committee as they work on their fashion shows.
“HBCUs are an institution for cultivating Black excellence and Black culture. They build communities, foster creativity and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said the UPS executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Kevin Warren, per WWD. “The goal of the program is to strengthen the pipeline of Black creatives coming out of HBCUs and support them in finding success.”
The newest initiative is part of the UPS’ ongoing mission to help small Black-owned businesses. First announced in 2021, the company’s Proudly Unstoppable campaign partnered with the nonprofit 30 Day Fund to give 28 Black-owned small businesses aid following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. By providing forgivable loans with donations made each day in February, UPS helped these businesses with payroll, medical benefits and kept employees in these companies employed.
As part of the partnership, the company also used its platform to promote the businesses with SMB collection boxes, highlighting businesses such as Essie, Red Bay Coffee Company and Panther Graphics, amongst others.
Previously, the UPS helped highlight Black designers with their last Be Unstoppable apparel wear brand. As part of last year’s New York Fashion Week, the company debuted the collection and donated its proceeds in its entirety to the nonprofit In the Blk to fund the work of newer Black fashion designers.
Along with the money made from its limited-edition collection that paid homage to the works of Black creatives such as Virgil Abloh, the postal service also donated an additional $50,000 in grants as part of their partnership with In the Blk.