Dior is mentoring woman students from disadvantaged backgrounds

Partnering with UNESCO, the fashion house will be opening its mentoring scheme to women from countries all around the world this summer.

by Tom George
15 July 2020, 11:02am

Still from Dior video, via YouTube

Donatella at Versace; Comme Des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo; Rihanna at the groundbreaking Fenty: there are some pretty amazing women within fashion revolutionising the industry as we know it. But still, it’s overwhelmingly male-led, and despite the fact that universities such as New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology are seeing an 83% female intake, a 2018 study found that only 14% of fashion houses were actually led by women.

The LVMH-owned couture house Dior has been actively trying to change the industry’s blaring gender imbalance, and since 2017, has been running Women@Dior, a mentoring scheme for women students from the best business, engineering, art and fashion schools across 20 countries to be partnered with employees from the world of Dior to guide their careers and gain invaluable experience.

Now, in the wake of the devastating effects of coronavirus on young women’s access to education globally, Dior has partnered with UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition to extend the programme and mentor 100 more female students this summer from Niger, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka too. The chosen participants will join the 10-month Women@Dior programme -- currently being run online -- and then take part in the Dreams for Change initiative to create local projects empowering women and fighting stigmas with the support of Dior and LVMH.

In a statement Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s Creative Director of women’s collections, said: “Out of education comes freedom. For me, it seems essential to help young girls develop their self-confidence: the confidence to dare, to be independent and to do things. This initiative is more essential than ever in order to create the world of tomorrow.”