Students will be able to sign up for courses in the minor starting in the spring semester. Michelle notes, “At LIM our goal with our DEI Minor is that it will have a strong enough impact on the entire fashion industry, with initiatives led by our students and graduates.”
Presenters shared what some of the foundational DEI courses will be.
Some information about select courses are as follows:
After faculty shared the values and core teachings of their courses, Erica Monnin moderated a conversation on DEI within the fashion business industry, with LIM alumni Bianca Caampued and Kingsley Gbadegesin. In her role, Erica has led efforts to establish an institution-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan and launched the DEI Committee.
Bianca Caampued (’07) is the cofounder and advisor to Small Girls PR, a boutique digital PR agency based in New York and Los Angeles, founded in 2010.
In the panel discussion, Bianca described what inclusion in the workplace means to her: “As you build a company and start to form a company culture, it's important to think about ways in which you are creating programs to cultivate inclusion.”
Bianca says, “Inclusion is the culture piece.” Small Girls PR has a program that allows employees to discuss ways the company can improve inclusion. Bianca discussed how inclusion is key to making a healthy work environment. She is currently working on non-profit and social impact projects based in Tulsa, building a program for music artists that helps to form a supportive and caring environment based around artists’ financial and creative needs. Bianca is also working on a program for women reentering the workforce from the justice system that helps provide clothing, workshops, lifestyle, and family needs.
“There has been a large shift in what businesses and brands are doing and they're being held accountable by consumers, their audience and their customers,” Bianca said, adding that these ideals need to constantly be worked on and present within individuals’ lives and company culture.
Kingsley Gbadegesin (’15) is a first-generation Nigerian-American and a New York–based creator working to advance liberation for the Black community, the Queer community, and People of Color.
The Kingsley brand stemmed from Kingsley trying to help a group that was underrepresented. He notes, “I wanted to use my past and lens that I learned, and turn it on its head.” Through working with other brands throughout his career, Kingsley realized the importance of storytelling within the fashion industry.
Kingsley’s brand was born out of the Black Lives Matter movement, creating tank tops that tell a story: “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was not something that we were looking to do but it was community-born. It was a community built from otherness.”
The brand is aspirational but tangible. Kingsley values diversity and inclusion within the Kingsley brand. He wants his costumers and anyone he works with to feel welcomed and appreciated. “You’re worthy of taking up space—you have a right.”
Advice on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Students:
Bianca: “It’s about speaking up, asking questions of leadership and being proactive.” She suggests looking at different programs and methods that are working for certain companies and bringing those to the table.
Kingsley: “Find coworkers that have similar ideals as you and work together to try and implement change within the workplace. Your ideas are valid and there is a space for your ideas. You’re paving a way to make people feel seen and heard.”