FLAIR Cares Mentoring & Scholarship Program guarantees our students that there are individuals who care about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. We know from our research that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on students in a variety of academic, professional and personal situations. FLAIR Cares Mentoring connects a student to personal growth and development and exposes them to social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three students will go through their educational journey without this critical asset.
Fashion International Careers
Denade Asefa, 2019 FLAIR Cares Scholarship Recipient, attended Fashion International Careers (FCI). This up and coming fashion designer was just a little village girl in Ethiopia when she discovered her love for fashion through pageant shows at her uncles coffee shop. Denade was sent to the U.S. for a better life in 2009 ("Beyaala"), to a new country, flying alone to an unknown world. She spent time in a transitional home in Addisa Ababa and after a few months was adopted into a family of 12 by an American family in 2010. She found herself again on a plane "alone", unable to speak English, headed to Lexington, KY and given a new name - Grace Maas. She dealt was adversity and had to overcome obstacles in her adopted family. She was home schooled and learned English by watching television. She worked really hard to obtain her High School Diploma in 3 years working two jobs. In 2015, she found her talent for art and was accepted into the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) in Lexington Kentucky. Thereafter, she decided that fashion design was what she was going to do with her life. Denade set a goal of March 2019 and on March 9, 2019 she flew to Los Angles, scared with money saved from a part-time job, a suitcase and her love for fashion, very hopeful that things would work out. With a lot of faith and great mentors, two days after arriving in Los Angeles, she began studies at FCI for Design and Merchandising. The school experience was amazing. She is currently working on her clothing line and combining her love for fashion and her artistic skills to create something people will be proud to wear. She hopes to inspire others in her shoes so that they can apply themselves with confidence, drive and ambition (just as she did) and pursue their dreams despite where they are from, who their family is or how much they have at that time; regardless of their life situation or where they come from.
Otis College of Arts & Design
Mikayla Mathis, 2019 FLAIR Scholarship Recipient, currently attends Otis College of Art & Design as a freshman where she is studying Fashion with a minor in Toy Design and emphasis in Entrepreneurship. Her early inspiration was assisting her mother, founder of Luxe Therapy. Mikayla graduated from Mayfair High School and transferred to Opportunities For Learning where she participated in the Women’s Chorus and Student Council. Her community service experience joining the Zeta Phia Beta Sorority in creating and distributing personal care boxes to girls and young women residing in rescue shelters left an impression on her. She is proud of completing over 300 hours of community service. In 2015 she was crowned Ms. Bellflower and was introduced to Relay For Life and later other non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity. These experiences helped her to realize the importance of giving back to others. Mikayla cultivates her love for fashion by sketching fashion illustrations, sewing or binge watching fashion shows. As a result of these experiences, Mikayla plans to create fashion and designs for youth; designs that suit various body types; garments that are more sustainable; as well as create affordable beauty lines that include every shade. As a young black female who wanted to pursue fashion and design, she recalls the limited options and often felt discouraged. Her goal is to ensure that this feeling does not rob anyone of their dreams and is more inclusive.
Brittney Austin, 2019 FLAIR Cares Scholarship Recipient, earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Management at Hampton University where she maintained a 3.0 GPA. A native of Los
Angeles, CA, she looks forward to furthering her education with a Dual Master’s degree in Fashion Design and Fashion Communication and Marketing from the prestigious Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence, Italy. Polimoda is ranked as the best fashion institute in Italy, and amongst the top ten in the world. She combined her collegiate studies with practical application by studying, working and volunteering abroad. One of her most recent endeavors was volunteering with the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Specialist in Morocco where she worked closely with the women of a local cooperative and shared product design ideas to increase global business and designs. Prior to that, she worked as a Production and Operations Coordinator for an ethical fashion brand in Ghana. Brittney plans to create a lifestyle brand to focus on the social and environmental impact of fashion and design. She would like to work with female victims of homelessness and domestic violence; as well as with sustainable and compostable fabric whose waste will work as fertilizer for community gardens.
Otis College of Arts & Design
Adriana Burns, 2019 FLAIR Cares Scholarship Recipient, is a native of Virginia Beach, VA. She is a junior currently attending Otis College of Art & Design majoring in fashion design, maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Thus far at Otis, she has been a Peer Mentor, Teaching Assistant and Resident Life Assistant. She has volunteered at various campus events including the 2019 Centennial Scholarship Benefit & Fashion Show and several Art Exhibitions. Her goal is to obtain her degree and serve as a resource mentoring young African American females who aspire to attend college and major in fashion design. After graduating from Otis, she plans to become a Bridal Designer because she feels that every person is unique and a wedding gown should be a reflection of oneself and be the most exquisite garment that one will ever wear. Ultimately, she plans to own her own fashion house.
Ashley N.V. Mingo
Indiana University of Pennsylvania &
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Ashley N.V. Mingo, a 2019 FLAIR Scholarship Recipient, is a Philadelphia, PA native. She
earned her Bachelors of Science in Fashion Merchandising at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), her Associates Degree in Fashion Design (Professional Designation Program - 3.59 gpa) at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and is currently continuing her education in FIDM’s Costume Design Program for Television and Film, 2020 w/a 4.0 gpa.
Ashley has always been a fashion and history enthusiast. These interests afforded her a
wonderful opportunity to intern as a Costume Designer Assistant in film and theater beginning with the movie “Safe” (2010) when she was a high school freshman. This experience exposed her to the world of costume design and she has not looked back. While at IUP, she worked as the Theatre Costume Design Assistant for the theatrical production of “We Are Proud To Present” (2016); followed by another Costume Design Assistant Internship for the independent film “Liberte: A Call To Spy” (2018).
Ashley’s other experience includes working at New York Fashion Week as a Stylist/Dresser at
FW14, FW15 and FW16; designing and directing historical photo shoots highlighting Philadelphia's rich history and icons such as Marvin Gaye and the Black Panthers. Since graduating from FIDM in Fashion Design, Ashley launched Mingo’s Alterations ~ designing custom garments and alterations. Look out for this very talented FLAIR Scholar as this is just the beginning!
Ashley and her FIDM Costume Design classmates are featured with an Emmy award winning Costume Designer on the school website!