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Introducing Young Pioneers

FashMash today announces the launch of a mentoring programme designed to support and nurture the next generation of fashion industry talent.

The Young Pioneers initiative will team 12 senior FashMash members with a select group of those at the beginning of their careers. The programme is intended to be inclusive for all, but is designed particularly to support ethnic minorities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds. It is directly in response to the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the wider ramifications of COVID-19, with a goal to actively provide opportunities for these less represented groups to succeed in the fashion industry.

FashMash co-founders Rachel Arthur and Rosanna Falconer are looking for UK applicants who are in an entry-level position within or associated with fashion, are under 25 years old, and have an annual income of less than £25,000. Importantly, they must be able to demonstrate a keen interest in shaping the future of the industry through their career goals.

Those awarded the mentoring will gain access to a six-month programme that includes monthly mentoring sessions from a senior FashMash member, networking with fellow alumni, 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.

Mentors include: Ahmed Ashraf, Head of Digital, L'Oréal Luxe; Claire Bergkamp, Global Sustainability & Innovation Director, Stella McCartney; Jenny Cossons, Chief Partnerships Officer, Lyst; Kate Walmsley, Digital & E-Commerce Consultant, former Digital Director, Topshop and New Look; Maria McClay, Senior Industry Head - Luxury, Google; Nina Patel, Director of Retail Innovation, Farfetch; Olly Rzysko, Chief Marketing Officer, Mahabis and Co-Founder, Ecologi; Susie Mashford, Head of Marketing, Ganni; Vanessa Belleau, Founder & Director, High Fifteen; Wilson Oryema, Artist & Writer and Co-Founder, Regenerative Futures.

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

FashMash is a community dedicated to shaping the future of fashion. It was founded in 2012 as a members-only network with the aim of encouraging open conversation and sharing of ideas to help move the industry forward.

Where once becoming a member was about seniority or experience in the industry, today it has evolved to being about a mindset. A mindset to shape the future of the industry as intrapreneurs, innovators, proactive leaders and leaders-to-be. The community is accordingly comprised of 500 changemakers and offers a suite of networking tools focused on professional and personal development. The Young Pioneers mentoring programme is the next step in the progression of the community.

“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,” says Rosanna Falconer.

“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,” says Rachel Arthur.

To expand the reach and vision of the programme, FashMash has 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. She brings a wealth of experience running mentoring schemes and developing educational content.

The Young Pioneers programme will launch in September 2020. Applications open today with a deadline of August 14.


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