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Max Mara funds scholarships for underrepresented fashion students

Camilla Rydzek
04 March 2022

Fashion brand Max Mara has announced that it will be providing scholarships for six designers from underrepresented backgrounds to study fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Max Mara Opportunity Scholarships in Fashion will run for the next three years, starting this September. Two undergraduates of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who are enrolled on BA (Hons) Fashion degree will be receiving the scholarships to help meet living and study costs.

The scholarship is meant to address the need to improve racial diversity and inclusivity within the fashion industry. Max Mara's Creative Director, Ian Griffiths, is himself a Manchester alumni and supports the scholarship programme.

Over a third of the undergraduate student body at Manchester Metropolitan identifies as coming from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background. The university also counts more students from low-income households than any other university in the UK, with around 50% of the student body being the first in their family to go on to higher education.

Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Manchester Metropolitan is proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK, striving to expand opportunities across all subjects and for all communities. I am delighted that Max Mara shares our ambition and grateful for their support. These generous scholarships will support wider access to higher education and enhance career opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds.”

Griffiths added: “Let’s talk about the culture of fashion. At street level, it’s hugely enriched by the participation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, but on a structural level their voices are largely absent. At Max Mara we have always thought that communities that the brand seeks to engage with need to recognise themselves within the overall brand identity: so it’s time to open up the culture of fashion. These scholarships will open the door and develop the full potential of talent which might otherwise be wasted.

"In the 1980s, Manchester Polytechnic - now Manchester Met - enabled me to launch my own career. Now, I am proud to be part of this initiative which will create opportunities for others. Like Manchester Met and Max Mara, I personally believe in tearing down any and all barriers to inclusivity.”

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