April 6, 2023

At Centric Brands, we invest in partnerships that place diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of our recruitment practices and development programs.

We are excited to continue our partnership with the Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund (BTDF) this year to support Black students studying fashion and design. Through this partnership, Centric Brands provides scholarships, mentorships, and internships to support the mission of BTDF and its recipients, reinforcing our ongoing efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace.

We interviewed Dwayne Smith, a recipient of the BTDF scholarship, to learn more about this year’s BTDF program and his interest in the fashion industry. Dwayne will be joining Centric Brands’ 2023 Summer Internship Program in the New York Office.

How did you approach this year’s Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund prompt, Creativity x Impact: express how you merge your love for design, fashion, and footwear through impact and intentionality?

I approached this year’s Black Talent in Design and Fashion Fund through fashion, by developing and illustrating a sustainable denim collection for the fashion industry.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the fashion industry?

Ever since I could remember as a child, I was always into fashion. I didn’t realize it until a later date, but I always gravitated towards fashion, whether dressing myself or someone else. Growing up, I admired the women in my family. Seeing them get dressed up and feeling confident felt like a celebration. I just knew that one day, I would use my creativity to help them get dressed and feel even better.

What role or impact do you think sustainability has in the fashion industry today?

The impact of sustainability has shifted the fashion industry into a new light because brands are becoming more conscious of their practices and consumers are interested in better buying habits. Of course, a complete turnaround towards sustainability won’t happen overnight, but to see some established and new brands redesign their business models around sustainability is incredible!

If you could impact/create change in one area of the fashion industry, what would it be?

One area of the fashion industry that I desire to change is the amount of representation in the industry. I want to create more diversity and spaces for people to feel a part of fashion because fashion is more fun when it’s relatable and attainable for everyone!