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Travis Scott and Parsons join forces to bring fashion education to Houston

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Travis Scotts’ collaborative track record is pretty impressive, who else might partner with McDonalds, Nike, Fortnite and Saint Laurent – but the latest hip-hop stars are perhaps his most significant. Today’s announcement that Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation would join forces with the New School’s Parsons School of the Design to launch a special fashion program is the start of an unprecedented alliance. Working with the university and non-profit My Brothers Keeper, Scott will provide what he calls an authentic fashion design program for high school students interested in the field. Participants will be able to connect to classes with world-renowned Parsons instructors. Courses for online certification, as well as an online incubator for emerging talent, will put stylish young hopefuls on the path to success. Centered in Scotts’ hometown of Houston, it will also include scholarships that will allow students across the country to participate in the action.

Photo: courtesy of the Cactus Jack Foundation

As the school where Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Emily Adams Bode and Proenza Schoulers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez honed their skills, Parsons has been the benchmark for design education in the United States. Its graduates enjoy a world-class education, but one that is for the most part inaccessible to those who cannot afford the expensive tuition fees that are now common at many private colleges and universities across the country. Fashion can be insular, but participating in Parsons comes with access to internships, networking opportunities, and mentors that can open doors. Allowing high school students from communities traditionally under-represented within the school’s student body to experience the program is a long overdue decision.

The Parsons initiative is just one of many charity announcements Scott revealed today. United in their drive to uplift the community and give young people the tools they need for long-term success, Scotts contributions span the gamut from the launch of Cactus Jack Gardens, an agriculture and nutrition program in elementary school, to an endowment for students historically attending black colleges and universities. Named in honor of Grandfather Scotts, an HBCU alumnus, the Waymon Webster Scholarship will cover the tuition fees of students who experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.

Usually when a celebrity announces a fashion collaboration it just means more merch, but Scotts’ altruistic efforts provide a new model. By giving students access to programs that can develop their talents and encourage them to explore possibilities, Scott is helping to change fashion for the better. Expanding the industry’s talent pool has been a topic of discussion for years, and every effort towards a company where all people have opportunity is a step forward.

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