by John Russel Jones

Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) announced today a new partnership with LVMH North America through which the two organizations will work together towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive fashion industry. The partnership marks a historic commitment from LVMH in support of HFR’s mission of discovering, mentoring, and showcasing the emerging talent of color through multi-platform, high-visibility events and customized pipeline programs.

LVMH has committed resources to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the sector through people, business, and brand initiatives and to support the next generation of diverse talent.

ABOVE: Photo by Godisable Jacob.

HFR and LVMH are on a mission to create impactful change for the community of Harlem while opening new doors to the next generation of talented BIPOC designers and connecting emerging black designers to globally recognized luxury brands across the LVMH group of Maisons.

Brands from across the LVMH portfolio, including Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton will continue to collaborate with HFR to offer mentorship and activation opportunities throughout the year and beyond. Some examples of supported initiatives include:

  • The HFR ICON 360 HBCU Summit: The HBCU Summit is a commitment intended to transform the art and fashion programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across North America by providing direct design expertise from industry experts that will advance the next generation of diverse creative talent. In collaboration with HFR and North Carolina A&T State University’s Art and Fashion Department, Tiffany & Co. will sponsor the Tenacity Talks 10-week lecture series—featuring key industry experts—on topics such as jewelry design and innovation.
  • HFR’s Designer Retreat: As the first of many mentorship opportunities to come, this three-day retreat hosted more than 75 designers and featured several notable fashion speakers. During “Industry Stops,” designers were notably able to visit the North American offices of Louis Vuitton and meet with key executives, including Lanessa Elrod, Zone President & CEO; and Thomas Haupt, SVP of US Retail.

  • Black History Month Summit: Proving a forum for conversation with industry leaders, LVMH North America CEO Anish Melwani and Vice President of D&I Corey Smith joined Brandice Daniel, Founder & CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row to discuss the current state of diversity in fashion.

“Through this partnership, HFR and LVMH North America look forward to continuing their mission of giving designers of color access to individuals and organizations that can help shape their future”. said Brandice Daniel, CEO and Founder of HFR.  “We’ve successfully introduced a wealth of diverse designers to a world-class fashion curriculum consisting of invaluable tools and resources to grow their businesses, and have educated Gen Z on how they too can change fashion’s course. Conjunctively, we’ve created opportunities for youth to engage as early as high school, meeting the marginalized, particularly HBCU students, where they are in their fashion careers.”

“LVMH is committed to having a positive impact in our communities and realizing the path forward set by Virgil Abloh and others who helped foster equity and inclusion in the fashion industry by supporting and building a pool of diverse creative talent,” said Corey Smith, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, LVMH Inc. “It is critical for LVMH as an organization to continue developing talent of color internally while ensuring the relevance of our brands and our products in an evolving and diverse consumer landscape. We see this partnership with HFR as a wonderful opportunity to focus on values, culture, business, and community all at the same time, as these notions are not mutually exclusive, but interconnected and reinforcing one another.”