During her freshman year at Immaculata University, fashion merchandising major Jaliece Horn ’24 was the recipient of the Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund Scholarship. Horn was awarded a $500 scholarship by the Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund (BTDF), which is a scholarship and mentorship program founded by Nike designer Alicia Pinckney. BTDF offers assistance to Black students in design and fashion programs to combat the lack of representation in these industries.
The Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund Scholarship awards full-time undergraduate design and fashion majors with a $500 scholarship and mentorship opportunities with industry professionals. Students are evaluated on the basis of GPA (must maintain a 2.5 GPA) and creative expression.
Originally from Philadelphia, Horn is majoring in fashion merchandising. After graduating, she hopes to go into the design industry where she can utilize her creative and technical abilities. Growing up singing, dancing, playing the violin, drawing and painting, she has always been heavily involved in various artistic endeavors. “Every time I do something creative, I feel like I did something that matters,” says Horn. “It’s where I belong.”
Horn was directed to BTDF by Immaculata’s fashion merchandising program director, Lina Castro. Castro and Pinckney both attended Philadelphia University and connected through LinkedIn after Castro learned about Pinckney’s mission with BTDF. As a woman of color, Pinckney has accepted Castro’s invitations to speak to her Immaculata class about her experience in the design industry to encourage diversity within the department. “There should be more of these [financial and mentorship] programs,” says Castro. “We need to support students [of color]. We need to find financial ways to support them.”
The BTDF website offers statistics from a 2019 AIGA survey that shows white designers make up 71% of the design industry while Asian and Hispanic designers make up 9% and 8% of the industry respectively. Statistically, Black designers make up only 3% of the industry, which highlights a significant disparity.
Horn describes feeling honored to be selected for this scholarship. “Receiving the scholarship made me feel really appreciated for my Blackness, for who I am.”
According to its website, “Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund is an initiative set to directly fund Black students studying to enter the fashion and/or footwear industry.” By offering financial support and mentorship opportunities to Black students, BTDF hopes to increase diversity and representation within the fashion and design fields.