Saks Fifth Avenue launches emerging designer program
Saks Fifth Avenue announced on Tuesday the launch of the Saks Emerging Designer Accelerator Program, focused on leveraging its brand platform and luxury fashion expertise to develop high-potential independent brands.
As part of its commitment to increasing representation in its assortment, the program, presented by Mastercard, will emphasize BIPOC talent where each year half of the participants will be BIPOC-owned. The program will offer an onboarding bootcamp, mentorship and entrepreneurial workshops.
This year, eight brands have been selected to participate in the inaugural year-long program, including Ashya, BruceGlen, Busayo, Kimberly Goldson, LaQuan Smith, Reese Cooper, Alejandra Alonso Rojas and A.W.A.K.E. Mode.
The program was announced as part of Saks' new 'Diversity, Equity and Inclusion' roadmap, which outlines measurable commitments Saks will aim to achieve by 2023.
“Over the last year, the intensifying conversation around equality and social justice has made it clear there is more work to be done to improve representation, including within the fashion industry,” said Marc Metrick, Saks, CEO.
"We’ve taken the time to listen and learn, so that our plans can have a meaningful and lasting impact for our customers, employees, partners and communities. Sharing this roadmap is a pivotal milestone in our efforts and we remain committed to making Saks Fifth Avenue an inclusive experience for everyone.”
Among other commitments, the objectives include growing BIPOC leadership, directing 60 percent of grants annually from the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation to support underserved communities and increasing total sales of Black-owned, -designed or -led brands by approximately $100 million. To date, it has already added 38 brands to its assortment.
"We're excited to be able to introduce these new brands to our customers as we work to drive greater representation within our merchandise assortment,” added Tracy Margolies, chief merchandising officer
“As a leading luxury fashion destination, we work every day to ensure we offer our customers an experience for exploration and discovery of new fashion."
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