Foot Locker Europe announces today their support of charitable foundation, Metallic Fund. The aim of the collaboration is to accelerate the careers of some of the UK’s most promising young Black and People of Colour creatives and is part of Foot Locker’s LEED (Leading Education & Economic Development) initiative, and investment made to the Black community in June 2020.
Set to launch in February 2022, the Fashion Design Programme, an initiative between Foot Locker and the Metallic Fund, is an eight-week intensive and immersive educational programme aimed at young creatives in the worlds of fashion, streetwear, and sportswear at the beginning of their fashion careers. Led by a team of industry trailblazers who act as mentors to participants, the syllabus will cover a comprehensive range of topics in order to guide and inform students of the ins and outs of the industry at all levels.
A diverse committee of experts from design, fashion and cultural circles will lead workshops and provide guidance on the course. Mentors range from established, globally influential names such as Carlos Nazario (Fashion Director – i-D), Giacomo Piazza (247) Lucien Pagés (Lucien Pagés Communication), Cheraf Tajer (Casablanca), Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt (Co-Founder – Patta), Martine Rose (Founder) and to the new generation of players in the industry, including Mowalola, Tremaine Emory (Denim Tears) + more.
Housed within the new London-based Metallic Fund Space, participants on the programme will have access to resources and stimuli including a design studio, sampling workshop, content studio, video conference booths and a research library. The course will involve various modules, covering everything from art direction and graphic design, to supply chain management, and garment construction.
To truly deliver the ambition of nurturing a new generation of creatives in the world of design, essential tools including sewing machines, a heat press, screen printing station, 3D printer and scanner, and a digital suite will enable participants to operate in an experimental atelier environment, from which they will each work to produce a limited-edition capsule collection. Select items designed by aspiring young talent during the programme will be sold at Foot Locker’s Marble Arch flagship store in London.
Six applicants will then be selected to participate in the programme based on a two-round application process.
The Metallic Fund was established in 2020 as a way of addressing racial inequality in the creative industries by awarding and enabling emerging Black talent in the progression of their careers. Over the past 12 months, the initiative, together with its supporters, has invested £140,000 into bringing to life projects and career milestones for its recipients. Additionally, Metallic Fund has paired young Black talent with industry leaders across music, fashion, film, and business as part of its ongoing mentorship programme.
Metallic Fund founders Alex Sossah and Grace Ladoja comment “The Fashion Design Programme is the natural evolution of what we started in 2020 with the Metallic Fund Grants. Beyond financial and mentorship support we wanted to give the opportunity for young creatives to access a creative hub and creative education programs in the world of fashion and music.”
Alex Sossah says “Grace & I have always been about bringing people together, whether it was through events or through collaborative creative projects, our love for creativity and collaboration is the reason why we started our agency Metallic Inc in 2015.”
Grace Ladoja says “We’ve done so many things underground and low key behind the scenes so its really important for us to be visible about The Metallic Fund and make sure it was accessible to people outside of the community that just know us and have our phone numbers. Around the UK there are so many young people who are doing amazing stuff that want to be supported by a company that is Black owned and that also has an incredible community around it that can nurture them through mentorship.”
Carmen Seman, VP, Marketing for Foot Locker in Europe comments: “We’re thrilled to have partnered with The Metallic Fund; we’re passionate about ensuring that Black and People of Colour designers get recognition within the creative industries, and so this is a fantastic opportunity to make a change to the lives of young creatives based in London. Over eight weeks, the programme will equip aspiring talents with the guidance and tools to take their ideas and projects to the point of retail and beyond.
“This new partnership is a continuation of our ongoing LEED initiative and commitment to working alongside and supporting the Black youth community who are leading the charge to reshape the future for the better, and we can’t wait to see the designs which are created during the course.”