On International Women’s Day, Custom Collaborative salutes women, girls, and their allies worldwide. We are dedicated to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
New York City is “the fashion capital of the world,” and so it is the right place to grow a fashion-forward, women-first economic-development program. That is why Harlem-based Custom Collaborative offers women from low-income and immigrant communities training and ongoing support that equip them to launch careers and businesses in the fashion industry.
Custom Collaborative’s Training Institute teaches the art, making, and business of clothing while supporting trainees with workshops in ethical and sustainable business practices, leadership, communication, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. We give trainees a stipend and metrocard for the full-time 14-week program, and connect them to immigration, counseling, food pantry, and other social services.
Among the women we currently serve:
- 97% are ethnic/racial minorities
- 80% are primary caretakers of young children
- 90% have income below the US poverty guideline
- 80% are immigrants/first generation
- 45% are without permanent housing
- 35% have survived domestic violence
These are the leaders of tomorrow who will create a sustainable and equitable fashion industry that puts women’s needs first.