BY: Jamil Khan
JOHANNESBURG – Much has been written of the health related mission of United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) in recent weeks, which will culminate into our sojourn in South Africa in March 2013. Although it comprises a very important part of our work at UCOF, it is not the only part of that work. The UCOF Student Training Arts & Design (STAND) program promotes our aim to expose under resourced, creative fashion and design students to the many exciting opportunities in the fashion industry. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, board of directors and donors STAND is the first and only program of its kind that is offered to students, in the United States, at no cost. This program gives them a chance to start making their mark on the fashion industry and helps them to carve out their own career path in fashion. The program was conceptualized as a stepping-stone for students who are talented, but uninformed and unaware of the many opportunities that exist within the fashion industry.
The STAND program allows interns to learn in the areas of: Management, Media & Communications, Marketing, Design, Textiles, Accessories and Event Production. These fields of work are opened to our interns in the form of workshops, hands-on participation in fashion show production and internships with leading designers. We also assist interns to get scholarships to leading fashion schools and arrange presentations for newly graduated designers. All these opportunities give talented, aspiring fashion professionals a platform to be recognized and integrated into the industry.
This month we feature our TOP 2 students of 2012: Emily Cruz and Valery Juste. Both bright, young and talented aspiring fashion professionals hope to make a lasting impact on the fashion industry. UCOF has undertaken to help them learn all they can about the fashion industry and prepare them for their future careers.
Emily Cruz, currently a high school senior, has ambitions to take on the business aspect of the industry – a much-needed focus, as most brilliant brands have seen their darkest days due to improper business management. She has a keen interest in trends and believes that fashion is everywhere from cars to couches. With this outlook we have no doubt that Ms. Cruz will be greatly successful in her endeavors to becoming a “profashional”.
Valery Juste, a once introverted child, has found her safe place in fashion. In her own words, fashion has inspired her to be different and think differently. She plans to join two passions: writing and fashion, to become a fashion writer. UCOF is preparing her for the high-pressure, fast-paced world of fashion and she is relishing that prospect. We’d like to think that Ms. Juste has already started writing her first life chapter on fashion success and we expect her to exceed all expectations.
In addition to all the learning we are exposing our TOP 2 interns to, UCOF has committed to facilitating their acceptance to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York for Fall 2013. FIT is a leading fashion institute that will provide our interns with the best instruction for a comprehensive understanding of fashion and the fashion industry. Our president, Ciano Clerjuste, met with the interns to guide them through their college applications. Both interns were taken through the workings of the fashion industry for them to understand which major they need to choose to make their qualification work for them. This will assist them to map out a direction that will serve their interests and passions.
We believe that investing in the talent of New York will reap great returns for the fashion industry in the future.
We are very proud of our interns Emily Cruz and Valery Juste, a feeling that will only be amplified as we follow their careers to their respective summits.
Jamil Khan is a Psychology graduate from Stellenbosch University with a keen interest in fashion, social upliftment and research. He is a United Colors Of Fashion press intern, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.