Ask anyone who's moved up the ranks of their career how they did it, and aside from the obvious things like hard work and perseverance, their success is also likely due to a mentor who helped guide them along the way. For some, a mentor can be as "informal" as a more senior colleague who has offered advice, support, and direction. For others, it's as structured as an organization designed to meet and support your specific career needs. Regardless of who it is, the benefits of having access to a mentor are plenty, and having someone on your side who's experienced in your chosen field affords you crucial insight into situations that otherwise might've felt impossible to navigate. In some industries, like fashion and beauty, the perks, recognition, and events look alluring and impossibly fun on the outside, but they can be difficult, exclusionary places to find your footing. Fashion and beauty mentorships and career resources can make that a little bit easier.
Historically, opportunities such as mentorship and internship programs across all industries have been systematically designed to exclude Black people and people of color and disproportionately benefit white people with access and connections. As outlined by The Harvard Law Review, there exists a mentoring gap, even at the college level. Race, gender, and socioeconomic status, among other factors, all contribute to how easy it is for someone to secure a mentor, if at all. Although many career resources available on college campuses and outside of them can be exclusionary toward non-white people, the below fashion and beauty mentorship programs and career resources are specifically designed to contribute to the success and advancement of Black people and people of color.
Through one-on-one mentoring, networking events, or spaces created to uplift and support, these programs and resources might help guide you forward on the path toward your dream career in fashion and beauty. As more mentorship programs become available, we'll continue to update this list.
Women Who Create (WWC) is an organization founded by women of color exclusively for women of color. The organization understands the importance of women of color being able to communicate with someone they look up to and can confide in and emulate. WWC's mentorship program, which you can apply for here, allows members interested in fashion, advertising, music, tech, and/or entrepreneurship to be paired with a mentor to meet with regularly, either digitally or in person. Additionally, WWC provides members with a program guide, as well as fun events and regular digital career resources.
With a wealth of career resources on its website — online masterclasses, videos, career essentials — as well as job postings, event postings, and an online community for Black women to support each other in their careers, the Black Career Women's Network's (BCWN) goal is clear: to ensure Black women have all the support they need in advancing throughout their professional lives. The BCWN also boasts a network of mentors and career coaches in varying fields, including fashion, beauty, and media, available for members to come to with questions. There are different levels of membership to BCWN, which you can learn more about here.
Budding fashion designers will certainly benefit from Black Design Collective's mentorship program. In a nutshell, Black Design Collective is a group of Black fashion designers who have worked hard to rock the fashion industry with all types of collections. As an organization, Black Design Collective is committed to supporting budding Black designers through mentorships, business opportunities, and more career resources, so they, too, can experience the same deserved success. The collective works with students, as well as professionals with varying levels of experience in fashion design, costume design, and areas adjacent to the fashion industry, like stylists, makeup artists, hairstylists, and more. You can submit an application for membership here.
While still in its early stages of development, the Black In Fashion Council, founded by some of the industry's biggest names in both fashion design and media, seeks to hold the fashion industry accountable for equality — something it has historically lacked. The council's purpose is not only to support Black individuals in navigating and advancing in the various pockets of the fashion industry, but also to challenge its longstanding exclusionary behaviors.
Also in its early stages, the Black Fashion & Beauty Collective, organized by prominent figures in the fashion and beauty industries, seeks to partner with major fashion houses, production companies, and other forces in fashion and beauty to provide learning and career opportunities to Black individuals hoping to build careers in these realms. The collective will also work to diversify the industries and create a community-focused, supportive environment to help members achieve their goals. While the collective is still in its developmental stage, you can pledge your financial support here.
The Black Fashion World Foundation is a non-profit organization designed to combat the lack of opportunities Black people have in the fashion industry. To ensure aspiring Black professionals in the fashion, marketing, and retail industries have access to adequate education, mentoring, and other professional resources, the Black Fashion World Foundation is working to build a community of entrepreneurs willing to help foster growth and community amongst future members. The foundation has also held an incredibly valuable fashion masterclass with Sean John President and CEO, Jeff Tweedy.
If you're interested in wardrobe styling, Fashion Mentor provides a great deal of resources to help you excel. Both Fashion Mentor's website and Instagram are filled with useful resources, like webinars, styling lingo, and even internship and styling assistant opportunities. Even more, the organization features huge, buyable guides for stylists regarding how to optimize your social media presence, where/how to network, important contacts, and how to knock a job interview out of the park.
For those interested in the fashion or beauty side of journalism, the National Association Of Black Journalists (NABJ) works to ensure the journalism industry is inclusive of talented Black storytellers. The association's website houses a huge database of professional resources, events, editor archives, webinars, and so much more. After becoming a member, which you can apply for here, you'll have access to a number of valuable resources, like a member directory, special events, a career matching service, scholarship and internship opportunities, and so much more.
As the leader of a quickly growing brand in the skincare space, Peach & Lily's founder Alicia Yoon recognized her responsibility to share successful strategies she's gleaned over the years to help a new generation of estheticians, especially within the Black community, which is still exceedingly underrepresented in the beauty industry. This is why Peach & Lily started its new Peach Skincare Academy Mentorship Program, which will offer those accepted a one-on-one meeting with Yoon, as well as several group sessions regarding skincare education, hands-on techniques, targeted career training, and more. While the application period for first program has ended, we'll update this post once applications for the next installment open.
As another leading skincare brand that has soared in popularity, particularly with a younger audience, over the past few years, Glow Recipe has also introduced two mentorship initiatives to ensure both budding Black-owned businesses and Black students interested in the beauty industry are able to learn from those already in the field.
For its Community Mentorship Initiative, Glow Recipe will choose three Black-owned businesses and support their growth via access to Glow Recipe's founders, marketing, creative, business development, and content teams, as well as bi-weekly virtual mentorship meetings. For the Student Mentorship Initiative, the brand will choose five U.S. college students to be paired with a Glow Recipe employee in either the marketing, PR, creative, social media, or digital department. Each mentee will have access to bi-monthly meetings (or more) as well as a group learning session with the brand's founders. While applications for the first session of both initiatives are now closed, we'll update this post as soon as it's time to apply for the next session.