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From left, Harlem’s Fashion Row CEO Brandice Daniel celebrates the announcement of a second $100,000 award to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s program from ICON 360 and Gap Inc. with fashion merchandising and design program students Tatyana Richardson, Aniya Chavis and Alexis Dixon and instructor Devona Dixon, Ph.D.

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Nov. 10, 2022) – Fashion merchandising and design students and faculty at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University have a new reason to dress up and celebrate. For a second year, the program has received the top award of $100,000 from clothier Gap Inc. and fashion industry nonprofit ICON 360.

The award comes as part of their “Closing the Gap” initiative, which provides financial support to fashion programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The award is the initiative’s largest, and one of only 10 made at that level nationwide.

“N.C. A&T is honored to receive the top award of $100,000,” said Devona Dixon, Ph.D, a professor in the program. “This is the second year of the Closing the Gap Initiative and A&T has received the top award for a second year. We are elated!”

Gap Inc. and ICON 360, the philanthropic arm of Harlem’s Fashion Row, announced the award at a recent networking dinner attended by students and program faculty.  

The award will be used to support students in a variety of ways, Dixon said: to provide scholarships and stipends to offset their costs of relocating for out-of-state internships; support fashion industry study tours; and help develop both a fashion-focused, in-house library and a spring Student Showcase.

“We’ll be able to bring industry creatives and executives-in-residence to the program, and provide professional development support for faculty as well,” she said.

This award is a continuation of the relationship begun last year with ICON 360 and Gap Inc., when A&T’s fashion merchandising and design program also received the top award of $100,000. Since then, Harlem’s Fashion Row and other fashion industry professionals have begun a lecture series for fashion students; attended the program’s spring design showcase; and sponsored a trip to New York City for the program’s students.

“Our partnership with Gap Inc. is a significant one,” said Brandice Daniel, CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row. “It provides financial awards to deserving HBCUs so that they can encourage Black students to innovate and push the needle forward in the world of fashion.

“N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University won this $100,000 award because of their impressive application. We saw that they have been doing well with their existing resources and were convinced that they will be good stewards, and use the grant to advance their fashion program further.”

ICON 360 and Gap Inc.’s commitment to helping HBCU fashion programs more effectively prepare a pipeline of minority talent for industry is greatly appreciated, fashion program’s faculty members said.

“These funds will provide students with exposure and content that would otherwise have been absent from the program,” said Elizabeth Newcomb Hopfer, Ph.D., an associate professor in the program. “Graduates will be prepared for competitive job placement and will be positioned to fill industry-wide gaps in diverse representation.

“ICON 360 and Gap Inc.’s continuing commitment is applauded and very much appreciated.”.

About North Carolina A&T State University 
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically Black university, as well as its top ranked (Money magazine, Best Colleges). It is a land-grant, doctoral university, classified as “high research” by the Carnegie Foundation and a constituent member of the University of North Carolina System. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was founded in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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