COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The fashion scene in Columbus is growing thanks to a summer program that provides inner-city youth with a chance to enter the fashion industry.
Over the course of eight weeks, 17 teens from around the city will be designing their own unique clothing line as part of a paid summer internship program.
“In these stations, they’re inside our production labs, and they’re working on a project where they actually get to produce garments,” said Yohannan Terrell, executive director of the Columbus Fashion Alliance.
Terrell says they started the “Future of Fashion” internship to help young Black students get involved in a positive creative outlet.
“It’s about finding ways to allow them to really grow and engage them, in a way,” Terrell said.
The program is already benefitting students like Mary Day, who said it gives her a space to be herself.
“Just to be creative, and just to have somewhere to go, and be safe, and feel like you can express yourself,” said Day, a 17-year-old fashion intern.
And for others like Drake Hilton, it’s given him the opportunity to learn from professional fashion designers who look like him.
“I see people, they’re in their, like, early or late 20s, and they’re already in a position right here, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I could do that,'” Hilton, 17, said.
At the end of the summer, Terrell said the students will not only have the skills to succeed, but also further Columbus’ fashion industry.
“That’s the beauty of having this fashion industry in Columbus, is that it can do so much for the next generation and we’re here to connect those dots,” Terrell said.
All the clothing made by the interns will be donated to local students before school starts.